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d 1— 



School of Architecture 

Landscape Architecture 

Presented by 
Bachelor of Architecture 


University o( Toronto 

CC" I- - 





^*»>-'ir RUINS OF RHEIMS. 1919 

Original Etching bff George T. Ptowrtai 








40 aniJ« 


Original Etching h^ George T. Ploti rnar 












By DODD, mead & COMPANY 












IT has been found necessary in this edition 
to revise the addresses for materials and 
to add a few titles to the list of works on 
the Graphic Arts. The illustrations are al- 
most all new, and more numerous than in the 
first edition. Other than these, no changes 
have been thought advisable. 

The author desires to acknowledge his in- 
debtedness to the various artists who have 
kindly allowed their works to be reproduced. 
To Mr. John Lane of London the author is 
indebted for the collection of English and 
Colonial illustrations, and to Goodspeed's 
Print Rooms, of Boston, Mass., for the loan 
of prints from their collection. 

The author's thanks are due to the following 
artists for assistance in securing addresses for 
materials: Maurice Achener, Paris; Frank 
Emanuel, London; John Taylor Arms, New 
York; and Lee Sturgis, Chicago. 

G. T. P. 
Cambridge, Mass., 1922. 


THE awakening interest in the Graphic 
Arts now evident in America is most 
apparent when we consider Etching. 
A number of our large cities already have 
flourishing Etching societies and more are 
being organised. There is an increasing num- 
ber of successful exhibitions of the works of 
American Etchers — successful both in the 
matter of attendance — and, quite as impor- 
tant, in the number of prints sold. Our dis- 
criminating collectors are showing more in- 
terest in the work of living Artists, while the 
numerous Art Clubs throughout the country, 
after years of delving into art history, are 
coming to realise the interest and worth of 
modern reproductive Art. 

Many of the most useful books on etching 
are published abroad and are either out of 


print or expensive. In addition none of the 
practical manuals are written for use in this 
country, with the possible exception of La- 
lanne's "Treatise on Etching." An English 
translation of this book was published in Bos- 
ton some thirty years ago and is now out of 

The first part of the present volume is de- 
voted to the subjects which are necessary to 
a complete understanding of etching. They 
will also serve as a guide to the beginner in 
his preliminary work. The point cannot be 
too strongly emphasised that etching should 
not be attempted until one has a thorough 
knowledge of drawing. 

In the second or technical part of the book 
I have endeavoured to omit nothing, no mat- 
ter how elementary, that might assist the be- 
ginner. Even the more experienced may find 
these chapters of use, at least in saving them- 
selves the trouble of consulting various works 
for some needed formula. Those who al- 
ready enjoy the Graphic Arts will appreciate 


them more intelligently and derive additional 
pleasure from them by knowing something 
of the technical side. 

The fact that most etchings do not tell a 
story, lack the assistance of colour, are not 
concerned with the mere copying of facts, thus 
leaving much to the imagination, tends to 
make this art less easily understood by the 
amateur. The more numerous the conventions 
the greater is the knowledge required for in- 
telligent understanding. "Scorn for limited 
means of expression in art arises from im- 
perfect culture." The finest thoughts of the 
great Masters have often been expressed by a 
few lines and with the cheapest materials. 

While naturally placing great stress on the 
manual and technical part of Black and 
White, it is hardly necessary for me to point 
out that all this is of no avail if one is not 
an artist. It is true that manual dexterity 
never made an artist, and it is also true that 
no work of art has been injured by being 
well presented. I am not forgetting that 


there are many most charming little etch- 
ings which are crude in execution. To do a 
thing thoroughly well one must do it with 
ease. An artist should be sufficiently master 
of methods not to be hindered in working 
out his design. Working methods in etching 
are greatly influenced by the individuality 
of the artist. Every etcher has his own way 
of working which he considers, and which 
usually is, the best for him. 

Much of the contents of this book is de- 
rived from notes made during the last three 
years in England, and on the Continent. As 
a student in the Engraving Department of 
the Royal College of Art at South Kensing- 
ton, it was my great privilege to be initiated 
into the mysteries of acids and grounds by 
the master craftsman, Sir Frank Short 

George T. Plowman. 



Pencil Drawing and Composition . 


. 19 


Pen Drawing 

. 28 


Wood Engraving 

. 38 



. 42 


Line E^ngraving 

. 48 



. 53 


Dry-Point. Soft Ground. Etc. 

. 65 


VIII. List of Materials for Etching 73 

IX. Preparing the Plate for Acid 88 

X. Drawing on the Plate, Etc. ... 93 

XI. Biting the Plate, Etc 98 

XII. Reworking Ground, Etc 108 

XIII. Other Methods Ill 

XIV. For a First Experiment .... 117 
XV. Printing 122 

Bibuography 143 

Index 153 


Original Etching. . . .Ruins of Rheims, 1919 Frontispiece 
George T. Plo<wman 


Pencil Drawing Broadway, New York 19 

George T. Plov:man 

Soft Pencil Drawing. Burg Eltz, Germany 20 

George T. Plowman 

Silver Point Chamonix, France 22 

George T. PloiLinan 

Charcoal Drawing . . . New York 24 

George T. Plowman 

Crayon Drawing . . . .Toulouse 26 

George T. Plowman 

Pen Drawing Monreal 28 

Donald Maxwell 

Pen Drawing Ye Old Fighting Cocks Inn. . 30 

George T. Plowman 

Pen Drawing Rheims in Ruins 32 

George T. Plowman 

Early Wood Cut The Worship of the Golden 

Calf 36 

From The Nurenburg Chronicle 

Wood Engraving 38 

Timothy Cole 



Modern Wood Cut. .Ncvcrs, France 40 

F. Chalandre 

Lithograph La Maison Dcsolce, Paris. ... 42 

George T. Ploivman 

Lithograph Rue Boutebrea, Paris 46 

George T. Plowman 

Copper Plate Line 

Engraving 48 

Heinrich Aldegrever 

Steel Engraving Abraham Lincoln 50 

H''m. Marshall 

Etching 53 

Maxime Lalanne 

Etching A Dutch Grcengrocerie 55 

Sir Frank Short, R.A., P.R£. 

Etching Rio Verona 56 

D. S. MacLaughlan 

Etching Rue de Pretres St. Severin, 

Paris 58 

George T. Ploivman 

Etching Grimnessesluis, Amsterdam . . 60 

James McBey 

Etching The Slopes Above San Vigilio 62 

Percival Gaskell 

Dry Point Ducks 65 

Frank W. Benson 

Dry Point Mt. Hood, Oregon 66 

George T. Plowman 

Aquatint 68 

John Taylor Arms 



Mezzotint Nocturne 70 

George T. Ploiuman 

Etching The River Tyne 74 

tVilliam IValcot 

Etching Rose Hill Barns 76 

Franklin T. IVood 

Etching The Edge of the World 78 

Lionel Lindsay 

Etching Hotel de Sens, Paris 80 

George T. Ploviman 

Etching Rue St. Romain, Rouen 82 

Frank L. Emanuel 

Etching The Rehearsal 84 

Arthur IVm. Ileintzelman 

Etching George Fox at Cambridge. . . 86 

Robert Spence 

Etching Abandoned, The Whaler 

"Morgan" 88 

George T. Ploiuman 

Etching Antwerp Cathedral 90 

Maurice Aihener 

Etching The End of the Story 94 

Malcolm Osborne 

Etching Rambler Roses and Red Ad- 
mirals 98 

Katharine Cameron 

Dry Point "Two Tails That Twine as 

One" 102 

IVill Simmons 

Etching La Petite France 106 

George T. Plo<wman 



Soft Ground Etching. .Landscape 1 1 1 

Louis Marvy 

Aquatint with Etching. The Quiet Street 112 

John Taylor Arms 

Mezzotint The Mill Stream 114 

Frrderirk Rrynolds 

Mezzotint 116 

£. Marsden ffilson, A.R.E. 

Etching Shot Tower, London 118 

George T. Plo<wman 

Etching Le Vieux Coin, Paris 122 

George T. Plowman 

Etching Sewing 1 26 

Lee Hankey 

Dry Point Mt. Shasta, California 1 30 

George T. Plo<wman 

Etching Sick Man 134 


Etching Covered Bridge, Woodstock, 

Vt 138 

George T. Plowman 

Etching Ex Libris 138 

George T. Plowman 

Etching Tools Plate I Page 140 

Etching Tools Plate II " 141 




A Pencil Drawing by 
the Author 


"Go slowly at first in order that you may go fast in 
the end." 

AS a preliminary to the making of pen 
and ink drawings or etchings, many 
pencil drawings should be made. The 
pencil employed for this purpose should be 
rather hard — an H or HB. The hard pen- 
cil approaches the directness of the pen. 
A rather smooth paper is best, and the same 
kind should be used all the time, as a dif- 
ferent technique is required when drawing 
on rough paper. Soft pencils and rough 
paper are usually employed when making 
pencil drawings which are not intended for 
use in etching. Often pencils of varying de- 
grees of hardness are used in the same draw- 
ing. The usual practise is to employ those 
grading from 3 or 4B to H, although every 



artist has his own way of working. The 
pencil is not so black as the chalk or pen. 
It has a disagreeable shine, and looks grey 
when placed beside ink drawings. In good 
pencil work black is used sparingly. Exces- 
sive blacks and a high degree of finish are 
signs of the amateur. The sketch should 
be drawn with decision, first slightly indi- 
cating the main contours and masses. Selec- 
tion will come with practise. At first you 
will do too much. Local colour should be 
sparingly suggested or omitted altogether. 
Bear in mind that the fewer facts consistent 
with completeness the better the sketch. "So 
long as a drawing is harmonious, it need 
not be carried far." In time you will learn 
to feel your drawing, and without thinking 
select only what will assist the effect desired. 
It is good sometimes to make careful stud- 
ies — of trees, for instance — carrying the work 
as far as possible and trying to learn some- 
thing of the way in which trees grow. An- 
other good exercise is to make fifteen-minute 




A Soft Pencil Drawing by 

the Author 


sketches. Stop at the end of the time, 
whether the sketch is finished or not Do 
this regularly for a month, and you will find 
much improvement. Do not be too wor- 
ried if your work has not the looseness or 
freedom of handling you could wish. This 
most desirable quality will come in its own 
time, and should not be forced. One who 
strives too much for looseness in the begin- 
ning loses in solidity. 

There is no pleasure equal to the ability, 
acquired after long practise, to express with 
ease on paper any subject you may select 
This is the only way by which quality of 
line may be developed and improved; and 
quality of line is of vital importance in etch- 
ing. Draw from nature every day. Be 
composing all the time. Constant practise 
with the pencil is most important for the 
beginner in etching. The musician practises 
scales and exercises every day. In the same 
way the etcher should employ his sketch book 
constantly. The ability to make good pencil 


drawings is surprisingly rare among artists. 
Most of them are content to jot down a 
rough memorandum with a very soft pencil. 
The softer the pencil the easier it is to get 
some sort of an effect. For the rapid sketch 
from nature, no medium equals the soft 

"Koh-i-noor" or Faber drawing pencils, 
3-ply smooth, or Strathmore or Harding's 
drawing papers, are all that is necessary in 
the way of materials. Many valuable hints 
for pencil sketching will be found in Sir 
Alfred East's "Landscape Painting." 

Silver Point. — A silver point is a drawing 
on prepared paper with a silver pencil or 
stylus. The paper is usually prepared with 
a coating of Chinese white. This method 
of drawing was employed before lead pencils 
came into use. It was a favourite medium 
with the Old Masters, especially in the Flor- 
entine school of the fifteenth century. In 
appearance silver point is not unlike a hard 
lead pencil drawing. It is characterised by 




A Silver Point by 

the Author 


precision of line and delicacy of tone. The 
point gives a beautiful grey line of even 
width. Mistakes are not easily corrected, 
and the only way to erase lines is to use a 
brush with Chinese white. Tinted papers 
were sometimes used by the old Masters, the 
light being brought out with white. The 
silver point is best adapted to figure drawing. 
Legros' beautiful portraits done in this me- 
dium are examples of modern work. The 
points come in various sizes, usually three — 
fine, medium and thick. Robertson & Co., 
of Piccadilly, London, supply the materials 
for this work. 

Chalk Drawings. — Chalks of different de- 
grees of hardness and various colours are 
used on tinted papers with interesting re- 
sults. Black and white chalk on grey paper 
is very effective. Black, white and sanguin 
are used for figure work. Rubens' drawings 
are examples. Landscapes are best rendered 
in brown chalk. Nature may be suggested 
by more limited means with coloured chalks 


than in any other way. Interesting examples 
of chalk drawings are shown in the Studio 
Special Number on "Pen, Pencil and Chalk." 
Charcoal Drawing. — Charcoal is employed 
by the painter in outlining his subject on the 
canvas. It is only in comparatively recent 
times that it has been used as an independent 
medium, when it is chiefly employed for 
landscapes and the figure. The coal comes 
in sticks of .various degrees of hardness, and 
is used upon a grained paper. The facility 
with which the work can be removed from 
the paper by dusting with a cloth or rub- 
bing with bits of stale bread allows of great 
changes, so that one can compose and re- 
arrange the design with ease. This charac- 
teristic is also a difficulty, as the greatest 
care must be exercised to guard against 
damaging the drawing. The slightest touch 
may spoil the work of hours. When finished 
the drawing should be fixed on the paper by 
using a blower and fixative. Charcoal is 
employed for tone rather than line, although 

06 •* J 


a combination of the two is common. The 
rapidity with which one gets an effect in 
sketching from nature is one of the advan- 
tages of this medium, but it is more adapted 
to making large drawings than small ones. 
While sometimes employed with crayon or 
pen, it is at its best when used alone. Rus- 
sian or compressed charcoal and rough note 
paper have been used by Mr. Joseph Pennell 
with interesting results in a scries of draw- 
ings of New York City. 

Composition. — In making pictures, it is 
found that some arrangements of form and 
values please the eye and others do not. The 
conventions of composition are employed to 
bring about pleasing pictures. Balance of 
parts, simplicity and restfulness through se- 
lection, and what Ruskin calls the laws of 
principality and repetition, all tend toward 
good composition. The balance of parts is 
best illustrated by the familiar example of 
the steelyards. With two pounds of lead the 
bulk will be the same, but if a pound of 


feathers is balanced with a pound of lead, 
the unequal bulk excites the curiosity and 
makes the pivotal point a matter of interest. 
In a composition this point is known as the 
blind spot, and is the proper place to put the 
principal accent, such as a group of figures. 
Equal dark areas or equal light areas should 
be avoided. Ruskin's law is: a principal 
dark value with its repetitions or echoes, or 
a principal light value with its repetitions or 
echoes. Simplicity and restfulness are best 
attained by employing few values simply 
arranged and broadly treated. Three values 
are the least that one can use successfully — 
black, grey and white. Black values attract 
the eye first and should be treated as broadly 
as possible and be placed in such a manner 
as to insure restfulness. The more black 
there is, the greater the number of values 
which can be employed. 

These arrangements will help to indicate 
the "centre of interest," which should be at 
or near the centre of the picture. The lines 


A Crmyoa Drawing by 

the Author 


of the composition should lead up to the 
"centre of interest" in graceful curves. The 
remainder of the picture should be given 
only enough expression so that the eye will 
instinctively seek this point. Whistler's meth- 
od, or "secret of drawing," was to "draw the 
centre of interest first and finish it. Then 
draw in the surroundings. Keep all the 
composition well within the frame." 



"Art is Emphasis" 

HE pen is the piccolo flute of the 
artistic orchestra," as C. D. Ma- 
ginnis calls it in his delightful 
treatise on "Pen Drawing." While the pen 
has not the perfect freedom of the etching 
point, it is very near to it in this respect. 
The limitations of the medium are not unlike 
those of etching. There is the same conven- 
tion of the outline which does not exist in 
nature, and the same disregard for colour, 
except by suggestion. Economy and indi- 
viduality of line, combined with a proper 
regard for the limitations of the medium, are 
found in the work of the best pen draughts- 
men. Individuality should be as pronounced 
in pen work as in one's handwriting. 


By Courtesy of John Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd. 


A Pen Drawing by 



The technique of pen drawing has under- 
gone great changes in comparatively recent 
times, largely on account of the employment 
of photo-chemical processes. The "process" 
block has almost entirely superseded the old 
method of interpreting the artist's drawing 
by a wood engraving. This change is re- 
sponsible for the limitations in the technique 
of pen drawing as practised to-day. Briefly, 
these limitations are: making the lines clear 
and distinct, keeping the work open, aroid- 
ing involved passages which might become 
a blotch in reproduction, especially if the 
drawing is much reduced; keeping the values 
as few and simple as possible, and using 
only black ink on white paper. The im- 
provements in mechanical reproduction have 
been so rapid of late that these limitations 
have not the force that they formerly had. 
However, they all tend to good, clear tech- 
nique, and should be considered for that, if 
nothing else. Almost any drawing can now 
be satisfactorily reproduced. A compara- 


tivcly new method, called collotype, gives 
facsimile reproductions of the most delicate 

The first method of reproducing pen draw- 
ings was to trace them on a block of wood. 
The engraver then cut away the wood be- 
tween the lines of the design, which would 
print the same as type. Later photography 
was employed to transfer the drawing to the 
block or metal plate, which had still to be 
worked over by the engraver, who cut away 
the material between the lines. The best 
engravers, notably those working in America 
in the 8o's, did most wonderful work in their 
close imitation of the artist's design. The 
last stage was the discovery of a method of 
cutting away the metal in the space between 
the lines by means of acid. The metal plate 
thus treated was fastened to a block of wood 
the height of type. "Process," as this is 
called, has many advantages over the old 
method, not the least of which is its cheap- 
ness. The fact that the artist's work is re- 

3 J^^*^ 





A Pen Drawiol by 

the Author 


produced in facsimile instead of being inter- 
preted is a great step forward. 

A "process" block is made in the follow- 
ing manner: The drawing is photographed 
and the glass negative is placed over a metal 
plate coated with a gelatine and bichromate 
of potassium composition, and exposed to the 
light. When placed in a bath of warm 
water the unexposed gelatine will dissolve, 
leaving the drawing as gelatine lines on a 
metal surface. This surface is lowered by 
placing the plate in an acid bath. Another 
method is to photograph the drawing di- 
rectly onto a zinc plate and then roll pre- 
pared ink over it; the ink adheres only to 
the lines which are then brought into relief 
by employing acid as before. We now have 
the drawing in raised lines on a metal plate 
which can be printed from the same as type. 
You will note that this is the opposite of 
etching, where the lines of the drawing are 
eaten into the plate by the acid. 

A variation of the above method, known 


as "half tone," is employed more especially 
for the reproduction of wash drawings or 
paintings. In this a screen of varying de- 
grees of fineness is placed in front of the 
drawing to be photographed, thus dividing 
the tones into dots or squares, which arc 
treated just as the lines are in the "process" 
method. The screen causes the values to 
lose in strength, and this should be consid- 
ered in the drawing. In photographing the 
drawing the size can be changed at will. 
In most cases the drawing is reduced in size. 
As this affects the technique the draughtsman 
should know beforehand how much the 
drawing is to be changed and work accord- 
ingly. A photogravure is made by photo- 
graphing the drawing onto a copper plate 
and then biting the lines into the copper as 
in etching. The work can then be gone 
over with a graver, if necessary, and must 
be printed in an etching press. The photo- 
gravure is more like an etching than the 
other photo mechanical methods, and is of 

.=^ . 


A Pen Drawing by 

the Author 


course more expensive, as it requires sepa- 
rate printing. The history of illustration 
has been a striving after better and cheaper 
methods of reproduction. Line engraving, 
lithography, wood engraving and process 
each show an advance in ease and cheapness. 
The successful illustrator must know all 
about process and keep informed as to the 
improvements which are being made from 
time to time. 

Some confusion exists as to the difference 
between etching and pen and ink work. 
The pen and ink reproductions, which are 
familiar to us in prints, are usually made by 
means of the "process" method described 
above, while etching is seldom seen in illus- 
trated magazines except in reproduction, as 
its cost is practically prohibitive outside of 
very expensive art publications. Some years 
ago the "Studio" printed a few etchings and 
lithographs, and issued them as a part of the 
magazine. Owing to the great pressure em- 
ployed in printing an etching, the edge of 


the plate leaves a decided mark on the paper. 
This plate mark and the moulded ridges of 
ink, which can be felt by passing the fingers 
lightly over the darker parts of an etching, 
are means of distinguishing an etching from 
a reproduction of a pen drawing or of an 
etching. The etched line haying depth as 
well as width, contains more ink than the 
pen line. The gamut of pen and ink is 
therefore less than that of etching, where 
one finds deeper and more velvety blacks, 
and, at the other end of the scale, more deli- 
cate greys. The blacks of the pen are much 
deeper than those of the pencil, and do not 
have their unpleasant shine. 

The technique of the pen is entirely dif- 
ferent from that of the etching needle. 
Changing pressure with the pen results in 
giving lines of varying width and intensity. 
Sometimes pens of different sizes and strength 
are employed, but usually with a loss of 
simplicity. As the etching needle must be 
used with the same pressure in all parts, a 


beautiful grey in the distance is attained 
by drawing many lines close together and 
biting lightly. Should the pen draughtsman 
work in the same way, not having the ad- 
vantage of the light biting, he would prob- 
ably have to call for "first aid" from the 
photo-engraver to get a result. 

Simplicity and variety of line are to be 
kept constantly in mind by the beginner. 
A very careful pencil drawing should be 
made first, and over this the ink lines should 
be drawn. The pencil drawing may then 
be erased with a soft rubber. Don't try to 
tell as much with the pen as with the pencil. 
Be satisfied with a partial expression. Strive 
to make each line valuable, telling as much 
as possible of shade and form. A good plan 
is to make numerous pen drawings directly 
from nature without preparatory pencil 
work; then do the same subject carefully 
and compare the results. The ideal is to 
retain the strength and freshness of the quick 
sketch in the finished drawing. Pen and ink 


drawing is a kind of shorthand. Always 
remember that light and shade are most 
important in pen and ink, and that colour 
is only to be suggested, and even may be 
entirely disregarded. There should be few 
lines, but each should be made to tell. It is 
not easy to make the result look easy, and 
yet that is an important requisite. The values 
should be few and simply treated. The black 
blot is most effective in pen work. It repre- 
sents all values below a certain level, just 
as the white paper represents those above a 
certain level. Indicate as much as possible 
in the dark values and as little as possible 
in the light. 

Pen drawing is characterised by large, 
light areas, and has therefore few values. 
Employing three values, the following are 
some of the most useful arrangements: Black 
area against white surrounded by grey. Black 
area against grey surrounded by white. 
Black, grey and white from edge of picture 
to centre. Grey at top or bottom, dark in 

i>.»3 e(:.\b ?\«tbcnn{ 


By Courtesy of Goodspeed's Bookshop, Boston 


A Characteristic Early >^'ood Cut 

From the Nurenburg Chronicle 

Printed in 1493 


centre, and then white. A gradation from 
dark through grey to light is simple, and 
therefore good. Avoid all complicated ef- 

The method of printing determines the 
technique in pen drawing as much as it does 
in etching. The ink should be very black 
and each line distinct, with an extra allow- 
ance of space between to allow for the thick- 
ening in reproduction. As to materials, the 
requirements are simple: A Gillott No. 303 
and a Crow-quill pen, a bottle of Higgins' 
waterproof ink, and for paper Bristol board, 
Whatman's Hot Press or Strathmore. The 
treatise on "Pen Drawing," by C. D. Ma- 
ginnis, mentioned above, and the large vol- 
ume, "Pen Drawing and Pen Draughtsmen," 
by Joseph Pennell, may be consulted by those 
who wish to learn more of the technique 
of this most fascinating art. 



WOOD-CUTTING, or wood-engrav- 
ing, is a relief process. The de- 
sign is drawn on or transferred to 
a block of wood and a knife is employed 
to cut away the surface of the block between 
the lines. The wood-engraver does not work 
on the lines of the design; it is the wood 
that is left untouched which prints. This is 
the older method, but later an engraver's 
burin was used as well as a knife. The oldest 
woodcut is dated 1423. Block books were 
made before the invention of movable type, 
both the illustrations and the letters being 
cut in the block. Many artists worked in 
this medium in Germany in the sixteenth 
century. A later development was the white 
method, where the design was cut into the 
wood, so that the print therefrom showed 

By Courtesy of Goodspeeds Bookshop, Boston 





as white lines on a black ground. Thomas 
Bewick (1753-1828) introduced many new 
methods into the art In the old method 
pear-wood was cut with the grain. He used 
boxwood cut across the grain. Bewick was 
the first to interpret the design rather than 
to follow slavishly the lines. To illustrate: 
the shadow side of a rock would be made, 
in the first method, by digging out all the 
space between the artist's lines. In the later 
method the effect would be attained by run- 
ning white lines through the shadow in such 
a way as to get the proper tone and charac- 
ter. This required much more skill on the 
part of the engraver. 

A further change in the character of wood- 
engraving came about through the use of 
photography in transferring the design to 
the block. This brought about the subordi- 
nation of line to tone and texture, giving 
results not unlike line engraving. It became 
a reproductive art. Artists were employed 
in reproducing painting. Timothy Cole's 


beautiful woodcuts of the Old Masters in 
the "Century" are examples. At present a 
return to the earlier method is shown in 
the work of Lepere, whose woodcuts are 
as great, if not greater, than his etchings. 
The influence of the Japanese is seen in this 

It should be noted that woodcut is the 
opposite of engraving. In the former the 
lines are in relief as the space between is cut 
away, while in the latter the lines are cut 
into the surface. It was the art of the people 
until superseded by "process." The woodcut 
can be printed with the letterpress, and is 
therefore a cheap method of reproduction. 
As the cut would wear away in time, an 
electrotype is made which can be renewed 
as often as desired. Different values are 
obtained by varying the width of the lines. 
Boxwood is now generally used for the 
blocks, and is cut across the grain. The 
woodcut should not be made to imitate the 
line engraving. The artist should work from 

Frtnn a print in the possession of the Author 


A Modern Wood Cut by 



the black to the white, showing a flat black, 
white lines and white spaces, with no cross 
hatching. If a woodcut is made in the cor- 
rect style, it cannot be copied with pen and 
ink. Colour prints are made with a separate 
block for each colour, and one is printed oyer 
the other. Japanese colour prints are fami- 
liar examples of this method. 



LITHOGRAPHY (writing on stone) 
is a method of reproduction by which 
a drawing is printed from the surface 
of a slab of limestone. Aluminum or zinc 
plates are sometimes used. The process was 
invented by Aloys Senef elder in 1796. Sene- 
felder was born at Prague, Bohemia, on No- 
vember6, 1771. Itwas while living in Munich, 
making a precarious livelihood by writing 
plays, that he stumbled upon this method of 
getting impressions from stone. The great 
cost of printing his plays led him to try 
reproducing the copy, written in reverse, on 
copper by the etching process. He could 
not afford a separate copper for every page, 
and so was compelled to repolish the plate 
after each printing. The great amount of 
labour involved in this caused him to experi- 



A Lithograph by 

the Author 


ment with a fine-grained limestone much 
used in Munich for floor-paving. His first 
trials were not very successful. The neces- 
sity for quickly jotting down the items of a 
washing list forced him one day to use a 
stone and some ink made of soap, wax and 
lampblack. As he was about to erase this 
the idea came to him to try to get an impres- 
sion on dampened paper, first treating the 
surface of the stone with acid. From his suc- 
cess in making prints of this washing list, 
he worked out the whole process of lithog- 
raphy as used to-day. 

The fact that grease and water repel each 
other is taken advantage of in lithographic 
printing. The calcareous limestone em- 
ployed has an equal affinity for water and 
grease. A drawing is made on this stone with 
a greased chalk and chemically fixed with a 
weak solution of nitric acid. After this the 
surface is moistened and gone over with a 
roller charged with greasy ink which will 
adhere only where the lines have been drawn. 


!A print can then be made from the stone 
by using dampened paper. The artist now- 
adays seldom works directly on the stone, 
but makes his drawing on transfer paper. 
This drawing is transferred to the stone by 
the printer and reproduced in the usual way. 
It is generally conceded that this method 
is as legitimate as working directly on the 
stone, and it is naturally much more con- 
venient. However, some artists in the me- 
dium prefer the stone. Lithographic ink is 
sometimes employed in place of greased 
chalk. The stone should have a smooth 
surface for ink work. The combination of 
ink and chalk gives an effect that might be 
compared to Turner's mezzotints for the 
Liber Studiorum, the ink corresponding to 
the etched line. Ink may also be used as a 
wash and stumping may be employed in the 
same manner as in a charcoal drawing. 

Owing to the facility with which repro- 
ductions can be made, lithography is exten- 
sively used in commercial work. In recent 


years this art has been brought back to its 
legitimate sphere, chiefly through the work of 
Whistler and of Way the printer. The best 
traditions of the art are being conserved by 
the Senefelder Club of London — a club 
formed for "the advancement of artistic 
lithography," The first president of the 
club, Mr. Joseph J. Pennell, is a distin- 
guished exponent of this fascinating art. Al- 
most all of the world's supply of lithographic 
stone comes from the Solenhofen quarries in 
Bavaria. There are some good French 
stones on the market also. The chalk used 
in drawing is composed of beeswax, tallow, 
castile soap, shellac and Paris black. More 
wax and tallow are used than soap and 
shellac. The black is added that the work 
may show. It is put up in convenient sticks 
and pencils of several grades of hardness 
by Korn, of Cedar Street, New York. The 
ink for drawing on the stone is composed 
of equal portions of the same materials as 
the chalk. It comes in the form of sticks, 


like India ink, and is ground in the same 
manner, using distilled water. It is put on 
with a pen or brush. The ink used in print- 
ing is composed of Frankfort black and lin- 
seed varnish. A lithographic press is quite 
unlike any other form of printing press. 
The impression is obtained by carrying the 
stone on which a dampened paper has been 
placed on a movable bed under a bar known 
as a scraper. This scraping motion is en- 
tirely different from the roller motion of an 
etching press. The possibilities of artistic 
printing of lithographs are being much de- 
veloped of late, and many methods are em- 
ployed to vary the result. The number of 
prints possible is much greater than from 
an etched plate. The work fails by becom- 
ing blacker until it finally clogs up instead 
of becoming weaker as in etching. 

As compared with etchings, lithographs 
lack relief, as all lines show equally black. 
It is an autographic art and this is its chief 
merit. In looking at a lithograph you may 


Litholrmph with Crayon mnd Ink by 

the Author 


note white lines running through it. These 
are made by scraping the surface of the 
stone with the point of a sharp knife. Some 
artists employ the knife much more than 
others. Of late colour lithography is com- 
ing into favour, especially in Germany. In 
this method there is a separate stone for each 



ENGRAVING (gravure en taille- 
douce) is drawing in intaglio — i.e., 
with incised lines. It is perhaps the 
oldest known form of drawing, for even the 
pre-historic races have left records scratched 
on the surface of bone. In this sense Egyp- 
tian hieroglyphics might be called engraving. 
In its more general sense it covers all meth- 
ods of drawing by incised lines, and there- 
fore includes etching and dry point. The 
restricted and more common use of the 
term is to limit it to a design cut on a metal 
plate with an instrument called a burin, the 
resulting impression constituting a line en- 
graving. Vasari relates how printing from 
engraved plates was discovered about 1460 
by Maso da Finiguerra, a Florentine silver- 

By Courtesy of Goodspeed's Bookshop, Boston 






smith. Having filled the lines of a plate on 
which he was engraving some ornaments with 
lamp black and oil, the more readily to see 
his work, he happened to lay the plate face 
downward on a sheet of paper, and thus 
produced the first line engraving. The Ger- 
mans, however, practised the art some years 
before, and it probably originated there. So 
far as the student is concerned, engraving 
may be said to begin with Albrecht Diirer. 

The instrument used in line engraving is 
the burin, a steel rod, lozenge-shaped in sec- 
tion, sharpened by being cut obliquely at the 
end. The handle is shaped to fit the palm 
of the hand, and the instrument, held be- 
tween the thumb and second finger, is used 
by pushing it forward, thus cutting a clear, 
sharp V-shaped furrow in the metal. This 
furrow may vary in width from the moment 
the point digs into the metal until it leaves. 
It is a most laborious method, and the result- 
ing line is naturally more formal than the 
etched line. It is this absence of spontaneity, 


together with the varying thickness of the 
line, which distinguishes line engraving from 
etching. The burin leaves very little burr, as 
the metal forced above the surface of the 
copper by the instrument is called, since most 
of the metal comes up as a shaving. This 
burr is removed with a scraper. All en- 
graving is based on the line, and as there 
are no lines in nature, artistic convention 
plays a most important part, tones and tex- 
tures being translated by the line. 

Stipple engraving is a form of engraving 
where dots are employed instead of lines; it 
if often used in parts of line engravings. 
To save labour engravers sometimes bite 
their lines in with acid, afterward going 
over them with the burin. Line engraving 
is chiefly employed in translating painting 
into black and white; that is, the colour and 
tones of the painting are interpreted by the 
lines on the plate. It is practically a lost 
art to-day. Some confusion may occur 
through the misuse of the term "steel en- 

By Cvurtesy of C^^uspttu s Boi,ksii^f, BosUi 


A Steel Entravint by 



graving." As used nowadays, "steel engrav- 
ing" is nearly always a misnomer. All work 
previous to 1820 was on copper, when steel 
plates were first used to enable the printer 
to get more impressions from the harder 
metal. However, since the invention of steel 
facing of copper, steel is seldom used on 
account of the difficulties in its manipulation. 
We are all collectors, more or less, of mod- 
ern steel engravings, as American bank-notes 
are engraved on steel. They are the only 
real "steel engravings" of the present day. 

There are three kinds of printing used in 
the graphic arts — relief printing, surface 
printing, and intaglio printing. In relief 
printing the ink is taken from a raised sur- 
face, as exemplified in woodcuts, wood-en- 
graving and process. In surface printing, 
the ink is transferred to the paper from a 
flat surface, as in lithography. In intaglio 
printing the ink is taken by great pressure 
from below the surface of the plate, as in 
line engraving and etching. In relief print- 


ing the process is a flat squeeze, in surface 
printing it is a scraping motion, and in in- 
taglio it is a roller motion. 

From a print in the possession of the Author 






"// you cannot sketch you cannot etch." — Hamerton. 

ETCHING (from the Dutch "etsen," 
to eat) is a form of engraving where 
the lines are bitten into the metal plate 
with acid. An etching is a print made from 
a plate in which the design has been bitten 
with acid. Usage includes dry point with 
etching, although no acid is employed, the 
design being cut into the plate with sharp 
steel needles. In section the bitten line is 
U-shaped, while the dry point and engraved 
lines are V-shaped. It is not unusual for 
even cultured people to use the word etch- 
ing when they refer to pen drawing. 

The etched line is characterised by great 
freedom, the steel point gliding with ease 
in all directions over the metal plate. Etch- 


ing is the only form of engraving in which 
an artist can sketch. The technique of etch- 
ing is quite different from that of pen or 
pencil. The vigour and delicacy possible in 
the biting serve to differentiate this art. The 
artist who draws on copper just as he would 
draw with the pen or pencil does not under- 
stand the medium and will be disappointed 
in the result. The artist who draws on 
the copper and does not himself bite the 
plate with the acid is not an etcher. This 
should also be true to a less degree with re- 
gard to the printing. The true etcher draws, 
bites and prints the plate himself. 

Briefly, the methods employed in making 
an etching are as follows: a polished copper 
plate is covered with a kind of varnish called 
an etching ground. The ground is smoked 
with wax tapers to assist the artist in seeing 
his work. On this he draws his design, 
employing a steel needle which cuts through 
the varnish and exposes the copper. The 
plate is then covered on the back and edges 


r- "" "^ ai . 

1 1 1 I - 

^ 5 K U! < 


with some varnish impervious to acid and 
immersed in an acid bath. The acid will 
attack the copper only where the artist has 
drawn with the needle. When the acid has 
sufficiently eaten the lines of the distance or 
the lightest part, the plate is removed from 
the bath and washed in water. A brush 
charged with stopping-out varnish is used to 
cover over these lines. The plate is again 
put into the acid, which again attacks all the 
remaining lines. This stopping out, as it is 
called, is repeated until all parts are bitten 
to the required depth. The ground is then 
removed with turpentine and. a trial proof 
taken on an etching press. 

The artist has many ways of correcting 
his work, should this print, as is usually 
the case, prove unsatisfactory. Another 
ground can be put on, new work added, and 
the plate bitten as before. The lines al- 
ready on the plate can be enlarged by put- 
ting on a rebiting ground, which covers the 
surface of the plate but leaves the lines 


exposed. Lines which are too deep can be 
reduced by using a tool called a burnisher 
or by a scraper. Or charcoal may be em- 
ployed to bring down the surface of the 
plate by rubbing, thus making the lines shal- 
low. In etching it is more possible to make 
sweeping changes and still retain the fresh- 
ness of the work than it is in pen or pencil. 
A whole foreground is sometimes scraped 
out, the copper pounded up from the back, 
and new work added. As Sir Frank Short 
puts it, "While there is copper there is hope." 
The press used in printing etchings is not 
unlike an ordinary washing mangle. The 
rollers are usually of steel and between them 
is a movable metal plank on which the plate 
is placed. The warmed plate is first covered 
with ink, which is then carefully wiped off 
the surface, leaving the lines full. Sometimes 
a thin film of ink is left on the surface of 
the plate as well. To get a richer print the 
plate is again warmed and a soft rag flicked 
across the lines, pulling some of the ink 

By Courtesy of Arthur H. Harlow & Co., Sew York 


An Etching by 


over their edges. This is called retroussage, 
or stumping. A dampened piece of etching 
paper is then placed over the inked plate, 
and it is passed between the steel rollers un- 
der a heavy pressure. Several thicknesses 
of blanketing are placed between the rollers 
to equalise this pressure, which is so great 
that the edges of the plate make a distinct 
mark on the paper, and the ink from the 
darkest lines is moulded in relief. This relief 
in the dark lines can be felt by passing the 
fingers lightly over an etching. The plate 
mark and the relief help to distinguish in- 
taglio printing. The absence of the plate 
mark in old prints is not a proof that they 
are not etchings because the paper may have 
been cut in the margin between the plate 
mark and the edge of the etched work. Al- 
most all old etchings had these margins, and 
they were sometimes quite wide. 

Printing of etchings is unlike the printing 
of other forms of black and white work in 
that it is an important part of the process 


of attaining the desired result. Pen-and-ink 
reproductions by the process block, or half- 
tone method, go through the press with very 
little more care than type, but in etching 
the printing is almost, if not quite, as im- 
portant as the drawing and the biting. A 
good etching is a combination of a successful 
drawing, a successful biting and a successful 
printing. If the etcher delegates the print- 
ing to another, he should be sure that he is 
placing his plate in experienced hands, and 
in addition should give his personal super- 
vision to the prints; at least until one comes 
to his satisfaction which can serve as a guide 
for future impressions. The result may be 
varied in many ways. The kind of ink, the 
way it is put on, the different papers, and the 
printing in the press all have their influence. 
From the beginning one should have in mind 
the kind of printing to be employed. 

"Is this an original or a copy?" is a com- 
mon question. Every impression m ade froni 
a copper plate is an original print. In etch- 


An Etching by 
the Author 


ing, a design can be duplicated and still be 
an original. There are no copies in the 
usual sense of the word. The copper plate 
is merely a means to an end, and is of no 
value in itself. It is destroyed as soon as it 
shows signs of wear. A trial proof is a 
print made be^re an etching is finished to 
prove or try the condition of the plate. 
There may be a number of these, but none 
are signed by the artist until the plate is 
finished to his satisfaction. An artist's proof 
is a print signed by the artist, and therefore 
satisfactory to him. The prints not signed 
by the artist may not be made under his su- 
pervision, and are likely to be poor. They 
are always of less value than artist's proofs. 
The "Re marque," which is a characteristic 
of some of the old work, is not possible in 
most modern work because the margin on 
which these little sketches were drawn does 
not exist, the artist working up to the edge 
of the plate. Proofs before and after letter- 
ing are also terms which seldom have a sig- 


nificance now. No two proofs are or should 
be exactly alike. The great musician does 
not interpret the work of the master exactly 
the same each time. He has an ideal toward 
which he strives. In the same way the artist 
printer manipulates his materials to bring 
about that most elusive result — a perfect 

The number of prints made from a plate 
depends on many things. A deeply bitten 
plate will yield more good impressions than 
a delicate one. Much dry point will cut 
down the number of good proofs obtainable. 

f Dry points with the burr on print only a 
few satisfactory proofs because the projecting 
burr soon breaks down under the pressure of 
the press. The number, therefore, varies 
from eight to ten prints in delicate dry 
points to fifty, one hundred or more in strong 

'work. By employing steel facing the num- 
ber of prints is materially increased. This 
is a process for depositing a thin film of steel 
by electrolysis over the surface of the copper. 

Py Courtrsy of M,<sis Colnaghi & Co. 



Ad Etchiag by 



Copper thus protected will give many more 
proofs without wear. Should the steel facing 
wear away in some parts it can all be re- 
moved by a moment's immersion in a weak 
solution of nitric acid and another put on. 
The plate prints the same when steeled as 
before. Steel plates should be protected from 
rusting by a coating of beeswax. Sir Sey- 
mour Haden's qualifications for a printer 
of etchings are: "A finely organised man 
with the palm of a duchess." The two great- 
est printers were Delatre in France and 
Goulding in England. 

Should the artist decide, after making a 
number of prints, to change the work in any 
way — for example, by taking out or adding 
another figure — the prints made after this 
change become another "state of the plate." 
With some artists there are innumerable 
states, with others very few. Naturally the 
fewer prints there are for a given state the 
more valuable they are to the collector. 
However, an early state is not necessarily 



the best, because the changes made are in- 
tended to and usually do improve the work. 
Provided there have not been too many im- 
pressions made, and the plate is therefore 
in a good condition, the later "states" may 
be better than the earlier. 

To tell much in as few lines as possible is 
the ideal of etching. Rembrandt and Whis- 
tler should be studied for their masterly 
suggestion, and for their omission of non- 
essentials, leaving much to the imagination. 
The pleasure of etching lies in this sugges- 
tion which appeals to the intelligence of the 
beholder. Ruskin, who did not understand 
etching, called it the "art of scratch." On 
the contrary, each line should be considered 
and nothing left to chance. There are two 
kinds of etching, reproductive and original. 
In reproductive etching the work of the 
painter is translated into etching. In orig- 
inal etching the artist translates nature di- 
rectly, and he is then known as a painter- 

- Son 


An Etching by 


The following are some of the difficulties 
which etchers have to contend with : A nega- 
tive process is always more difficult than a 
positive, the drawing showing light golden 
lines on a black ground. All line work must 
be done with a view to the future action of 
the acid and of the printing. The require- 
ment of even pressure in all passages is an- 
other difficulty. The biting is very uncertain. 
One never knows surely what the acid has 
done until a proof is made. "Etching is 
always a chemical experiment." While it 
may be true that you can learn all there is 
to be learned about the technique in a half 
day, as I have been informed by a distin- 
guished artist, it is possibly wise for ordi- 
nary mortals to take a bit more time in 
learning the "teasing" art. The possibilities 
of the medium are not fully realised until 
you know your copper, and that is a matter 
of years. To quote Hamerton: "You will 
have many a hard battle, many an hour of 
mortification, but let me tell you that all 


good etchers have passed through these or- 
deals and been dirty with charcoal and oil 
and printing ink, and burnt their skin with 
acid, and spent hours and days in rubbing 
and scraping and correcting, often with no 
immediate result except utter disappoint- 




DRY-POINT (pointe-seche) is a meth- 
od of engraving on copper with a 
hard and very sharp steel point. Al- 
though it is a misnomer to call it etching, as 
no acid is employed, yet custom sanctions 
the use of the word. In etching, the copper 
is dissolved to make the line; in dry-point 
it is dug out. The steel point in cutting 
the copper turns up a furrow known as the 
burr. If this is left on it catches the ink 
and gives that velvety richness and softness 
which we associate with dry-point. The burr^ 
may be partly cut off with a sharp scraper, 
or it may be entirely removed, as is gener- 
ally the case when dry-point is used in con- 
nection with etching. 

Dry-point needles are usually made of 
extra hard steel and are of varying sizes. 


The needle should have a shorter cone than 
the etching needle and a sharp point. Dia- 
monds are often used in dry-point, their 
great advantage lying in their always being 
sharp. However, they have this objection, 
that they are brittle, and should not be used 
in the heavier passages. The dry-point 
needle can make very faint lines, and it is 
therefore good for putting in the delicate 
lines of sky. Light dry-point lines harmonise 
well with etched lines, whereas deep ones 
do not. It is wise therefore to add dry- 
point only in the distant or the lighter parts 
of an etching. Much dry-point added to an 
etching decreases materially the number of 
satisfactory prints. The needle when held 
upright throws up an equal burr on both 
sides of the line. When held slanting it 
throws up a much heavier burr for a given 
pressure, and so is more effective. To see 
your work, rub some lampblack mixed with 
oil into the lines and wipe off with a rag. 
Dry-point is much simpler than etching 


A Dry Point by 

the Author 


proper, as the uncertainty of the biting with 
acid is avoided and the work can be easily 
seen. The play of the needle on the plate 
is less free in this method than in etching, 
on account of the pressure required to cut 
into the copper. To sum up, the distinctive 
characteristics of dry-point are: velvety rich- 
ness and softness of line, arising from the 
action of the ink on the burr, and lack of 
perfect freedom in the line, owing to the 
resistance of the copper to the point. 

Sir Seymour Haden discovered that Rem- 
brandt's etchings could be divided into three 
periods of about ten years each — the first 
period, pure etching; second period, etching 
mixed with dry-point; third period, pure 

Soft Ground. — This is a method of draw- 
ing on a plate with a lead pencil. The 
ordinary etching ground mixed with tallow 
to soften it is put on the plate in the usual 
way. A sheet of grained tissue paper is 
stretched over this ground. The design is 


then drawn on the tissue with a pencil. When 
the paper is removed, it will be found that 
the ground has adhered to the paper wher- 
ever the pencil has been. The lines thus 
left on the copper are bitten in the usual 
way. The resulting print resembles a soft 
pencil drawing or a lithograph. 

Aquatint is engraving with tones instead of 
lines. A plate is covered with finely pow- 
dered resin and the tones are produced by the 
stopping out method. Sand grain is a kind 
of aquatint where the grain is produced by 
running a plate, covered with an ordinary 
ground and on which a piece of sand paper 
has been placed, through an etching press. 

Mezzotint is a means of engraving in tone. 
It has been much used for the reproduction 
of painting. Neither lines nor acid are em- 
ployed. A copper plate is uniformly rough- 
ened by going over it in many different direc- 
tions with a toothed instrument called a rock- 
er. A rocked plate would print a uniform 
black. A steel tool called a mezzotint scraper 

Z * S 

^ < 


is used to reduce the roughness and get the 
various tones, working from the dark to the 
light. An outline of the organic parts of the 
design is sometimes rather deeply bitten on the 
plate before rocking. Most interesting exam- 
ples of this are Turner's beautiful outlines for 
the plates of the Liber Studiorum. Mezzo- 
tint is much richer than charcoal drawing, 
which it somewhat resembles. On account of 
the burr in mezzotints, it is only possible to 
get a comparatively few good impressions; 
twenty or thirty are all that are usually 
printed without steel facing. 

Monotype. — If a picture is painted on a 
polished copper plate and the plate, covered 
with a dampened piece of etching paper, is 
run through an etching press, or even through 
an ordinary washing mangle, the resulting 
impression is known as a monotype. In 
theory only one print can be taken, but in 
practise a second or even a third are often 
more interesting than the Hrst. Some amus- 
ing results are attained, but it is not a method 


to employ for serious work. It is an artistic 
plaything and the effects are accidental. 
Colour may be used, but more often the draw- 
ing is made with black ink. 

Glass Prints. — This is another process with 
which artists have amused themselves. A 
sheet of glass is covered with an opaque var- 
nish on which a drawing is made with an 
etching needle. A print can be made by ex- 
posing sensitized paper to the light behind 
this plate — the Barbizon painters made many 
glass prints. Neither glass prints nor mono- 
types are in any sense engravings or etchings. 


o •» •• 
2 S 








Vise, with handle 


Whiting (Blanc d'Espagne) 



Ball of Etching ground 

Wax tapers (Rat de cave) 

Etching needles 

Varnish for back of plate 

Tray for acid 


Blotting paper 

Stopping-out varnish 

Water-colour brushes 



Olive Oil 


Dry- Point Needles 

Oil Rubber 

Graver or Burin 


Chamois skin 

Oil Stone 

Snake Stone 

Emery Paper 

Lamp Black 





N addition one should be provided with 
feathers, running water if possible, 
means of heating and clean cotton 

The Plate as it comes to the etcher is pol- 
ished but needs to be bevelled on the edges and 


corners so that it will not cut the paper when 
printing. Use i8-gauge American etching 
copper for ordinary work. For mezzotints 
or large etchings use i6 gauge. English cop- 
per is preferred by some and may be had in 
New York. Old hand-hammered copper is 
desirable but very difficult to procure. Zinc 
plates are much cheaper than copper. They 
require a different proportion in the acid. 
. The beginner would do well to use copper. 
>U in The File is used to bevel the edges and cor- 
jLft^ ners of the plate. 

\ \ The Vise should have a wooden handle and 

m^J^ one of the jaws should be covered with a piece 
1^ of an old kid glove to protect the surface of 

the plate. 

Turpentine is used to clean the plate and 
for removing the ground after the biting is 

Whiting softened with Ammonia is rubbed 
over the plate with printing muslin for fur- 
ther cleaning. Electro Silicon or Gilder's 
Whitening are good for this purpose. If the 


6S ^H 

B K ^ 
S < < 


plate is tarnished vinegar and salt are some- 
times used. 

The Dabber is easily made as follows: Cut 
a disk of stiff cardboard about three inches in 
diameter. Lay a piece of silk, twelve inches 
across, flat on a table. On this, make a pile 
of cotton wool and horse-hair, on top of which 
place the cardboard. Draw up the silk 
around the disk and tie with a string. Cut off 
the ends of the silk, leaving enough for a 
handle. Sometimes fine kid or chamois skin 
is used instead of the silk. 

Etching Ground. — A good etching ground 
should resist the action of the acid perfectly. 
It should adhere to the plate so well that it 
will hold up even when a small amount is left 
between closely drawn lines. The lines 
should be clear cut with perfect edges. The 
ground should not be so hard that the needle 
will not expose the copper under ordinary 
pressure. In other words, the ground should 
be so good that the etcher need not give it a 



Bees-wax (pure) 2>4 ounces 

Syrian Asphaltum 2 " 

Burgundy pitch |/. ounce 

Black pitch y, 


White Wax 30 grains 

Gum Mastic 15 " 

Asphaltum or Amber 15 " 


Bees-wax (pure) 5 ounces 

Gum Mastic 3 " 

Bitumen (in powder) 1^ " 

This ground is used for the Dutch mordant. 


Bees-wax (pure) 3 ounces 

Gum Mastic 1 ounce 

Burgundy pitch 1 " 

Bitumen (in powder) 1 " 

Increase the amount of Asphaltum in the 
Rembrandt Ground to 30 grains for summer 

* o 


e Z 


I 5 



use. Some etchers add a small ball of con- 
centrated solution of rubber to the above 

Making Etching Ground from formula 
given first. — First powder the pitch and the 
asphaltum. The black pitch is added for 
colour only. If this is omitted, twice as much 
Burgundy pitch must be used. Put the bees- 
wax into a glazed double boiler and melt over 
a slow fire. Add the Syrian asphaltum and 
stir with a glass rod. Next add the pitch, 
making sure that each ingredient is melted 
before the next is added. Take the pot off 
the fire when putting in asphaltum, as it is 
liable to ignite. A good plan is to keep at 
hand a copper plate larger than the dish to 
put over the boiler in case the asphaltum does 
catch on fire. 

Let the mixture simmer for fifteen minutes 
stirring all the time. Pour into a pail of 
warm water and when cool enough form into 
balls squeezing out the water. Cover with a 
bit of silk cloth and it is ready for use. 


Wax Tapers. — A twisted bundle of wax 
tapers, known as the "Rat de Cave," is used 
for smoking the plate. These may be had 
of any dealer in Etching supplies. 

Etching Needles are usually made with 
wooden handles. Sometimes the handle is 
adjustable so that a number of points of dif- 
ferent sizes can be set in as required. The 
disadvantage of these is that they may work 
loose in time. Good etching needles are also 
made of one piece of steel. The extra weight 
helps in cutting through the ground. Needles 
sharpened at both ends are to be avoided as 
they are somewhat dangerous if carelessly 
used. Large sewing or darning needles make 
good etching points, provided a firm wooden 
handle can be devised. I have a number of 
very successful etching needles made from 
broken dental tools. An etching needle 
should be sharpened to a conical point slightly 
blunted. Ixjhould not scratch the copper 
but go equally well in all directions, gliding 
on the copper^gnd jipt. digging into it To 


An EtchinI by 



sharpen the needle, place it between the 
palms of the hands and holding the point at 
an angle on the oilstone rub the hands to- 
gether. Describe circles of varying sizes on 
a sheet of cardboard to polish the point. Do 
this until the point will glide on the thumb- 
nail without catching. 

Dry-Point Needles are the same shape as 
etching needles, but are of much harder steel. 
They are made very sharp for cutting the 

Asphaltum Varnish or French Polish is 
used for painting over the back and sides of 
the plate to protect it from the acid. 

The Tray for Acid can be of porcelain, 
enamel ware, or any flat-bottomed dish that is 
impervious to acid. In Paris, trays of papier- 
mache, covered with many coats of Brunswick 
Black, are to be had. They are liable to leak, 
as I have found to my sorrow. 

Acid. — The principal acids used in etching 
are nitric, hydrochloric and perchloride of 
iron. All acids should be kept in bottles, with 



ground glass stoppers, in a safe place. Work 
before an open window when using nitric acid 
as the gas given off is injurious to the throat 
and eyes. Acid will turn the clothing or the 
skin a bright yellow. Some etchers add a 
small piece of sal-ammoniac to the bath be- 
fore biting, to make it work more smoothly. 
Use a piece the size of a hazel-nut to a pint 
of acid. The colour of the acid is clear and 
slightly yellow until the copper is laid in it, 
when it becomes green. For copper, the pro- 
portion is three parts of pure nitric acid of a 
specific gravity of 1.42 and 5 parts of water. 
Many use distilled water. For zinc or steel 
one part of acid to seven parts of water should 
be used. Never use the same acid for zinc 
and copper. 

In mixing, always remember to add the 
acid to the water. It is dangerous to pour 
water into acid. As the chemical action gen- 
erates heat the mixture should be allowed to 
stand for several hours. It is a good plan to 
put a strip of copper or a copper coin into 


An Etehial by 

the Author 


the acid before using. This makes it work 
better. Always have beside the bath a basin 
of clean water to wash the plate in and also 
to wash off any acid from the fingers. Have 
a bottle of ammonia handy, in case acid gets 
on the clothes. Be sure to get nitric and not 
nitrous acid, for the fumes from the latter 
are much more disagreeable,- and, as the acid 
is not as strong as nitric, the proportions 
given will not hold. Sir Frank Short uses 
acetic acid instead of water in the nitric bath. 

The Formula for Dutch Bath is: 

Hydrochloric acid 10 parts by weight 

Chlorate of Potash 2 " " " 

Water 88 " " " 

Take half of the water hot and dissolve the 
potash. When cold add remainder of water 
and hydrochloric acid. The chemical action 
will heat the mixture again. The propor- 
tions of the Dutch bath may be varied. 


Smillie used : 

Muriatic acid 1 ounce 

Chlorate of Potash | 

Water 5 ounces 

The Dutch Bath is useful for starting a 
plate as it attacks all the lines evenly, whereas 
nitric acid sometimes plays tricks by starting 
some lines before others. With some plates 
it is a good plan to bite the distance in the 
Dutch and the remainder in the nitric. When 
you are doing the whole plate in the Dutch, 
it is a good idea to give it one bubbling all 
over in the nitric before removing ground. 
For extremely fine, close and delicate work 
use the Dutch bath cold. This bath is very 
slow in action compared with the nitric and 
bites deeper into the plate for a given width 
of surface. The bath should be heated to 
from 70° to 90°. The usual temperature is 
about 80°. Use a thermometer to keep the 
same degree as the rate of biting varies with 
the temperature. 

The above is the mordant used for working 






From a proof in the possession of the Author 


An Etching by 



directly in the bath. When employing this 
method, begin by drawing the lines of your 
subject which are to be the darkest and work 
toward the light. It is more difficult to see 
the work than with nitric because the Dutch 
turns the lines nearly as black as the ground. 
A time-gauge can be made in the following 
manner: A strip of copper having on it a 
series of lines can be bitten ^, 1,2, 5, 10, 15, 
20, 30, 40, and 60 minutes to use as a guide, 
noting the temperature and employing the 
same when biting the plate. One of the ad- 
vantages of the Dutch bath is that no unpleas- 
ant and injurious fumes are given oflf. 

Perchloride of Iron is used pure as a mor- 
dant. When the plate is taken from this bath 
it should be washed in water and then in a 
weak solution of nitric acid. Wash again in 
water before putting back in the perchloride. 
This method will give the best results. One 
of the advantages of this acid is that there are 
no injurious fumes. The resulting line resem- 
bles the Dutch. 


Kind of Line resulting from different 
baths. — Nitric line is wide with a ragged 
edge and more V-shaped. The Dutch mor- 
dant bites deeper and afterward sidewise. 
At first it is like a shallow "U" and in deeper 
biting it takes the form of an inverted Mcx^r- 
ish arch. Deep lines therefore hold more 
ink than would appear from the width of line 
on the surface. 

Stopping Out Varnish. — Japan Black 
thinned with turpentine is a good stopping out 
varnish, but takes too long to dry. Hamerton 
recommends a saturated solution of white wax 
in ether, adding Ve part of Japan varnish. 
Chloroform can be used instead of ether. 
Another good mixture is of Asphaltum var- 
nish mixed with some old etching ground. 
Sir Frank Short recommends etching ground 
dissolved in chloroform or benzol. The 
above formulas are to be used when you may 
wish to draw over the ground. For ordinary 
stopping out use any varnish that is imper- 
vious to acid and quick drying. Rhind*s 


\. \^ 


By Courtesy of Goodspeed's Bookshop. Boston 


An Etching by 


quick drying stopping out varnish is excel- 
lent. Penrose Mogul Varnish is quick dry- 
ing, acid resisting and not brittle. 

Scraper. — This triangular tool has three 
cutting edges which must be kept sharp all 
the time or they will scratch the plate. It is 
used for scraping the surface of the plate to 
reduce over-bitten lines. The scraper is also 
used to remove dry point burr. It should be 
very sharp for this purpose as sometimes one 
wishes to remove only the top of the burr. 
Should the scraper be used too much on any 
one part of the plate it will cause a depression 
which will hold ink. 

Hammer, Anvil and Callipers. — A depres- 
sion is remedied by knocking up the plate 
from the back by means of a hammer and pol- 
ished anvil. A map of the depression can be 
drawn on the back of the copper by using a 
pair of long-armed callipers, one prong of 
which is sharpened to scratch the back of the 
plate. Be careful not to knock up the plate 
too much or it may buckle. 


Burnisher. — This is also used to reduce 
over-bitten passages. It consists of an oval- 
shaped piece of highly polished steel set in 
a wooden handle. The tapering point is the 
part used in reducing the lines. It is held at 
an angle to the plate and passed diagonally 
across the lines, thus partly closing them so 
that they hold less ink and will print lighter. 
The burnisher is a most useful tool, and in 
the hands of an expert can be made to perform 
wonders. Some etchers over-bite certain pas- 
sages purposely to get the exact tones with the 
burnisher. To keep the burnisher in good 
condition rub it back and forth along a groove 
in a piece of wood in which some emery pow- 
der has been placed. Tripoli powder and 
olive oil are also good for polishing the bur- 

Graver or Burin. — This is a tool which 
must be sparingly used in etching. It is use- 
ful to strengthen a weak line, following each 
irregularity. To slightly rebite lines which 
have been gone over with the burin restores 

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An Etching by 



the quality of the etched line. Avoid employ- 
ing the burin in the stiff manner of the en- 

Charcoal. — Willow Charcoal in sticks is 
used to polish the plate and reduce over-bit- 
ten passages. It comes in varying degrees of 
hardness and is used with water as well as 
olive oil. 

Oil Rubber. — An Oil Rubber is made by 
binding tightly a roll of old printing blanket- 
ing. The roll is usually about 6" long by 2" 
in diameter. The end is used with oil for 
polishing the plate. 



FIRST make sure that there are no 
scratches on the surface of the plate. 
Remove any you may find with the 
burnisher and some olive oil. Clean the 
plate with turpentine and a soft rag. Ben- 
zine is also sometimes used. Use salt and 
vinegar to remove tarnish. Afterward use 
a mixture of ammonia and whiting. Wash off 
the whiting with water and dry the plate, after 
which it is ready for the ground. Warm the 
plate until the ball of ground will just melt 
through the silk when passed over the surface. 
Be careful not to have the plate too hot or 
the ground will be burned. Rub over the sur- 
face evenly with a bit of printing muslin to 
distribute the ground; then, using the dabber, 
tap first vigorously all over the plate; then 
softly, as it cools. The ground should be 

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evenly distributed and as thin as possible, 
and yet resist the acid. The plate should not 
be heated too quickly or too much. Keep 
it just hot enough to melt the ground through 
the silk. If bubbles come on the plate, it is 
too hot. Should you have too much ground, 
remove the surplus by first cleaning the dab- 
ber on another plate or a sheet of tissue paper, 
warmed on the heater. With this cleaned 
dabber take up the extra ground from the 
plate. The two things to guard against in 
putting on the ground are grease and dust on 
the plate. 

To smoke the plate use a bundle of twisted 
wax tapers. Let__the_plate get cold beforp 
smokjng on account of the danger of burning 
the ground. In smoking, hold the plate face 
downward by the hand-vise high above the 
head. Pass quickly backward and forward 
the lighted tapers. Be careful to smoke 
the edges.. The centre will get enough 
smoke in covering the edges. Be very 
careful not to burn the ground either 


by stopping too long in one place or 
getting the taper too near the plate. The 
flame, but not the wick, should touch the 
ground. A little practise will enable the be- 
ginner to get a beautiful, dull black surface, 
like polished ebony, all over the plate. If 
you find any parts that are not smooth and 
are grey and shiny, the ground has been 
burned, and you must wash it all oflf with tur- 
pentine and begin again, since burned ground 
will not resist the acid. 

Roller Ground. — Use equal parts of etch- 
ing ground broken into bits and spike oil of 
lavender, i oz. by weight to 2 oz. by measure. 
Warm until dissolved, stirring with a glass 
rod. Place in a wide-mouthed bottle and keep 
corked. Use this paste ground with a leather- 
covered roller. Spread the ground with a 
palette knife on a piece of plate-glass or an- 
other plate and charge the roller evenly with 
this paste. Roll the plate many times in vari- 
ous directions until it is covered with a thin 
even film of the ground. Heat the plate to 



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expel the oil of lavender. This is shown 
by a slight change in colour. Smoke as 

Liquid Method. — Dissolve etching ground 
in spike oil of lavender, chloroform or men- 
tholated ether in the following manner: A 
small piece of ground is put into a 6 oz. bot- 
tle filled with the liquid. Shake well and 
leave for a day or so. Pour off the liquid a 
couple of times to get rid of the sediment. 
Level the plate with a small spirit level and 
pour the liquid ground on until it just covers 
all the surface and fills all the corners. Put 
surplus back into bottle and allow plate to 
dry. Smoke as before. 

To polish the plate after working on it with 
the scraper, use the materials in the follow- 
ing order: Arkansas stone, snake stone, water 
charcoal, oil charcoal, felt and powdered 
emery with water, oil rubber, and putty pow- 
der with a bit of old blanketing. All of the 
above are seldom needed — usually the oil 
charcoal and oil rubber are enough. The bur- 


nisher may be used to take out scratches which 
have a mysterious way of appearing on the 
plate no matter how careful you are. 




EVERY line of the drawing should be 
made, bearing in mind the effect of 
the acid and printing. Different acids 
bring different results. The technique is en- 
tirely different from pen or pencil drawings 
— the fewer lines for a given effect the better. 
Lalanne's rule for drawing is: "The breadth 
of the space between lines should be in pro- 
portion to the depth of biting." That is, for 
shallow biting keep the lines close together, 
and for deep biting wide apart. This rule 
allows for the action of the acid which bites 
sidewise as well as down. Etching is an in- 
terpretation of nature, and no attempt should 
be made to conceal the line which is the most 
vital fact of this medium. 

The needle s houy_beJicld a s near upr ight 


as possible to get the best results. At first 
you will get the lines in the distance too far 
apart, because they will look closer than they 
really are on account of the shining of the 
copper on the black ground. Using a reading 
glass or placing a piece of tracing paper over 
the plate will show you the real state of the 
lines. Draw with evenness of pressure all 
overand_with enough firmness to expose the 
copp fij. The temptation is strong to press 
lightly in the fainter parts. The copper may 
be exposed so that it shines through and yet 
enough of the ground will be left to prevent 
the acid from biting. To put on extra pres- 
sure in a place where deep biting is required 
will assist the result, but in general it is best 
to leave the values to the acid. Do not cross 
the lines at too acute an angle or you will find 
the acid has made a hole at the intersection. 
The more surface exposed in a given area the 
faster the nitric will bite. This should be 
considered in the stopping out or you will find 
some parts too deeply bitten. 

By Courtesy of Mr. H. C. Dickins 


An Etching by 



A soft-haired brush should be used to brush 
off the particles of ground which come up 
from the needle. Temperature affects the 
work of the needle as cold hardens the ground. 
A single needle may be used or a number of 
different sizes, employing the finer for the 
distance. When drawing indoors place a 
screen of tracing paper stretched over a 
wooden frame at an angle of 45° in front of 
the window, and draw in the light which fil- 
ters through. This makes the lines of gold 
on the black ground very plain. At night a 
light can be placed back of the screen. 



Transfer Paper. — First a piece of black 
or red transfer paper is cut the size of the 
plate. Over this is stretched a tracing of the 
subject, face down if it is desirable that the 
print come as it is in nature. In any case all 
lettering must be done in the reverse or it will 
be wrong in the print. After the tracing is 


stretched in place and you have made sure 
that the vertical and" horizontal lines corre- 
spond to the sides of the plate, you draw over 
the tracing with a hard pencil or blunt etching 
needle. In working out-of-doors, it is diffi- 
cult to start directly on the plate without pre- 
liminary outlines. There are two ways of 
overcoming this. One is to place a transfer 
paper over the plate and stretch drawing or 
tracing paper over this. Make your outline 
drawing on this paper. Another method is 
to outline your subject on the ground with a 
small brush dipped in Chinese White. 

The Gelatine Method is as follows : Scratch 
the outline drawing with the etching needle 
on a sheet of gelatine. Fill scratches with 
black lead. Put on plate face down and rub 
back of gelatine with burnisher. 

Transferring through press. — Draw on 
tracing paper using a sharp B pencil. 
Dampen the paper by laying between moist 
blotters. Place on plate, pencil side down, 
and run through the press, first reducing the 


pressure. In working direct from nature if 
you sit with your back to the subject and draw 
what you see in a mirror, the result will be 
right in the print. 

There is a question among etchers as to the 
importance of reversing. With Whistler the 
subject, as such, was secondary, and therefore 
he did not consider it at all necessary to 
bother about reversing his drawing on the 
plate. He was not producing illustrations of 
places, but works of art. Others care so lit- 
tle for this that they even letter correctly on 
the plate, thus allowing the lettering to come 
reversed in the print. A familiar building, 
such as Notre Dame in Paris, certainly looks 
odd when printed in reverse. 




IF the plate has stood for some time after 
being drawn upon, it may be necessary 
to wash the ground in a solution of acetic 
acid and salt in order that the acid may bite 
more evenly. To a half cupful of acetic acid, 
of about the strength of ordinary vinegar, add 
two teaspoonfuls of common salt. To re- 
move any grease that may be on the ground, 
brush with a piece of cotton dipped in al- 
cohol before putting in the bath. Cover 
over the sides and back of the plate with 
an acid-resisting varnish. If nitric acid is 
to be used, pour it into a porcelain dish to 
a depth of about one inch and put the plate 
in, first having water handy to wash ofif the 
plate and also any acid from the fingers. The 
old way to make the dish for the acid was to 

:^f Goodspeed's Bookshop, Boston 



An Etching by 



build a wall of wax around the plate. The 
wax was made to adhere to it by running a 
hot key around the inside of this wall. This 
method is rarely used now. 

Soon after the plate is put into the nitric 
bath, bubbles of gas form on the lines, first 
on those which are drawn near together and 
last on the isolated lines. This bubbling is 
one of the ways of gauging the biting. If 
some of the lines refuse to bubble you may be 
sure that you did not employ enough pressure 
to remove all the ground. However, they 
may start later. The bubbles should be gently 
brushed off with a soft feather. For very 
faint lines in the distance of your subject two 
to three bubblings will be found to be enough. 
That is, the bubbles are allowed to accumu- 
late and are brushed off with the feather two 
or three times. You will find that as the 
biting progresses the acid tends to bite faster, 
even when the temperature remains the same. 
When the distance is bitten enough, the plate 
should be removed, washed in water and dried 


by pressing blotters lightly over the surface. 
Be careful not to let the blotters slip or the 
ground will be damaged. 

There are several ways of telling how 
deeply the lines are bitten. One way is to 
hold the plate up high and look across the 
lines toward the light. The amount of shad- 
ow cast by the lines will give you an idea of 
their depth. Another way is to draw a needle 
over a line and gauge the depth by the drop 
of the needle in crossing the line. Still an- 
other way is to select some line or set of lines 
that are not important and scrape off the 
ground to look at them. They will of course 
have to be covered with stopping-out varnish 
whether deep enough or not. When you 
have decided that the distance is bitten 
enough, paint out carefully with a stopping- 
out varnish, taking great care not to run into 
lines you wish to bite more. The lines must 
look less heavy than they will be in the print 
because the ink is darker than the shadow. 
You can take the plate out of the acid with 


your fingers if you wash your fingers at once, 
or you can use a piece of wood, with a chis- 
elled end to press under the edge of the plate 
for a lifter. Grease on the fingers will pro- 
tect them from the acid. 

If anything, over-bite the distance because 
it is easier to reduce than to deepen shallow 
lines. It is wise to wear a blouse, similar to 
the workman's blouse in France, which will 
entirely cover your clothes, as the acid has a 
most mysterious way of making bright spots 
on clothing, no matter how careful you are. 
It is best not to try to finish a plate in the first 
biting. Get the essential parts. Leave the 
large light, etc., for future biting which you 
can do so much better with a proof of the work 
before you. Increasing the temperature of 
the acid increases speed but decreases the va- 
riety. Nitric acid bites quicker on a warm 
damp day. Strong acid tends to roughen and 
foul the plate. An old saying of etchers is, 
"One day of stopping-out is worth five with 
the needle." 



Etching in the bath. — Place the grounded 
plate in the acid bath and begin by drawing 
those lines which are to bite the deepest and 
work toward the lightest. It is a most diffi- 
cult way for a beginner to etch. I would not 
advise trying it until you have had a good 
deal of experience with the stopping-out Of 
course you will use this method some in the 
stopping-out process. Use an old needle or a 
sewing needle in a wooden handle because the 
acid will eat the needle as well as the copper. 
However, it will last for some time. This 
method was invented by Sir Seymour Haden, 
but is not used by many etchers. It has too 
many difficulties. 

Avoiding stopping-out. — In this method 
first draw in only the parts that are to be 
bitten the most. Place the plate in acid until 
these lines are bitten enough, and, on removing 
it, wsLsh in water and draw in the set of lines 




A Dry Point by 



that are the next grade lighter than the first, 
and so on to the lightest. Of course at any 
time between bitings you can remove the 
ground in order to make a print which will 
be a guide in further work. One of the ad- 
vantages of this way of working is that you 
can run lines across those already bitten. For 
instance, the lines of a sky showing through 
foliage would require a lot of careful stop- 
ping-out in the old method. 

Still another method is to place the plate 
on an inverted dish in the bottom of the empty 
tray, pour the acid on the plate and manipu- 
late it with a feather. The acid will stay 
where wanted if mixed with a little saliva. 
This method is not as nice as it is useful. 
Start the acid where you want the darkest 
lines and enlarge the space covered by the 
acid with the feather until you have the faint- 
est lines bitten. 

Whistler's method of biting a plate as de- 
scribed by Otto Bacher is as follows: "He 
put the plate ready for biting on the corner of 


the table, then poured the acid slowly onto a 
feather held against the mouth of the bottle, 
the acid dripping from the end of the feather. 
By moving the bottle and feather back and 
forth he covered the plate entirely with acid. 
The feather was employed to keep the plate 
equally covered. When the biting was finished 
he would place the feather against the tilted 
edge of the plate and drain the acid back into 
the bottle." If you employ this method it 
would be wise to have plenty of water near in 
case of accident. 

Hamerton's Positive Process. — This is a 
method of working in black on a white 
ground. The ground is made white instead 
of black and the Dutch bath is used, thus giv- 
ing a white surface and black lines. I doubt 
if this method is much used because in prac- 
tise one soon becomes accustomed to the golden 
lines of the copper on the black ground. This 
process, and the one following are fully ex- 
plained in Hamerton's Etcher's Handbook. 
Bracquemond drew with pen and ink on a 


clean copper plate. He then ground the plate 
in the usual way and immediately immersed it 
in water — the ink softens in the water and in 
a quarter of an hour the ground will come 
up where the ink lines are if rubbed with a 
flannel. Bite as usual and the result resem- 
bles a pen and ink drawing. Flour of sul- 
phur and oil put onto a plate with a brush for 
five or ten minutes gives a flat tone. The sul- 
phur makes the plate look darker than it 

In practise, the etcher usually employs a 
combination of several or all of the above 
methods. A good general rule in biting is 
to err, if at all, in over-biting the distance and 
under-biting the foreground. 



Should the ground be improperly laid the 
acid may find its way through in spots and 
show what is known as foul biting. Some of 


this fouling may come where it can remain 
with advantage, but should any of it come in 
the delicate parts such as the sky, it must be re- 
moved. Gouge it out first with a scorper, a 
tool something like a burin, knock the plate up 
from the back and polish. This is tedious 
work, and if your plate is covered with a deep 
fouling you may find it easier to do a new 

Sometimes fouling is purposely done. If 
there is not much wanted, a simple way is to 
take a coarse needle and tap or dot the ground 
on the plate wherever you want the fouling. 
Another method is to lay a dusty ground. 
Work in a cool bath until the parts to be 
kept clear are finished. Paint these out and 
warm up the bath when the dust spots will 
probably foul all you want. Or warm the 
plate and touch ground with a fluffy rag 
where you want fouling. Put sandpaper on the 
ground and rub on with burnisher. This can 
also be done on the plate after the ground is 
removed, using more pressure with burnisher. 

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Warm up the ground and sprinkle with a 
little salt. Wash off the salt and bite. Foul- 
ing will show wherever the salt has touched 
the ground. 





SHOULD you find, as is very probable, 
that some parts of the etching require 
more work to bring out the desired 
effect, proceed in one of two ways: either by 
putting in dry-point or by re-etching, as fol- 
lows : The plate is first carefully cleaned with 
turpentine, ammonia, whiting and water. 
Then melt some of the etching ground and 
rub into the lines with a bit of printing mus- 
lin. This protects the lines already bitten. 
Put on a ground with the dabber, or you can 
go over it with a roller, and remove any extra 
ground by passing the roller over another 
heated plate. Go over the surface until the 
ground is even. Do not smoke. The old work 
will show through this ground. 

Instead of using the roller with the hot 


plate clean off as much of the ground as pos- 
sible from the surface with a pad of linen 
rag, lightly folded. Let the plate cool and 
put a roller ground on in the usual way. This 
is the method recommended by Sir Frank 



The rebiting is for the purpose of deepen- 
ing any lines which may have come out too 
light. Use a paste ground made of the ordi- 
nary etching ground dissolved in spike oil of 
lavender. Some of this paste should be spread 
on a clean piece of plate glass or an extra 
plate and gone over many times with a leather 
roller until the paste is evenly distributed on 
the roller. Then roll over the plate to be 
rebitten a number of times in every direction, 
employing no more pressure than the weight 
of the roller. The plate should now be in the 
same condition as before removing the ground. 
That is, the surface of the plate is covered 


with a ground and the lines are free to receive 
further biting. You must heat the plate un- 
til it shines, to drive off the oil of lavender. 
A little practise will enable you to get this 
result. Some etchers fill the lines first with 
whiting and rub off with chamois. This is 
not necessary, however. 

The most important thing is to clean the 
plate thoroughly before applying the ground 
and have the plate and roller free from dust. 
Don't smoke a rebiting ground, because the 
heat may cause the shallow lines to fill up. 
If the plate is irregular on the surface the 
roller cannot be used. It is then necessary to 
use the dabber. This is a very delicate oper- 
ation and requires much practise to succeed. 

By Courtesy of Goodspeed's Bookshop, Boston 


A Soft Ground Etching by 






FOR soft ground etching melt together 
lard or tallow and an equal amount of 
etching ground. This is the propor- 
tion for cold weather. In warm weather use 
less, and in hot weather only one-half as much 
tallow or lard as ground. This ground is to 
be put on in the usual way, using a separate 
dabber. The ground is tender and will not 
bear touching with the hand. Thin-grained 
paper or tissue paper is placed on a piece of 
soft blotting paper. Then carefully place the 
grounded plate face down on the paper and 
turn up the edges and paste on back. Some- 
times the paper is dampened and stretched. 
You now make your drawing on this paper 
using an H or F pencil, being careful to sup- 


port the hand on some kind of rest so that it 
will not touch the surface of the paper. The 
pencil is employed as in ordinary drawing, 
i.e., varying the pressure to get values. But 
there is not as much difference between pres- 
sures as in ordinary drawing. Remove the 
paper carefully from the plate and you will 
find that it has picked up the ground wherever 
you have drawn with the pencil. Bite the 
plate in the usual way, noting that the biting 
is somewhat quicker than in ordinary etching. 
Variety is gotten by using different paper and 



In aquatint, spaces are bitten instead of 
lines. It is best to etch lightly the construction 
lines first. The plate is then thoroughly 
cleaned and dusted all over evenly with pow- 
dered asphaltum placed in a muslin bag. 
Strike the hand containing the bag against a 
ruler. When completely dusted warm the 

Aquatint with Etching by 


plate moderately until there is a change in 
colour. Use stopping-out varnish and acid in 
the usual way. Paton recommends a bottom- 
less box with a piece of fine muslin stretched 
over it. Place fine white resin on this, put- 
ting box over the plate on a table. Strike the 
box and the resin will sift evenly over the 
plate. There are other methods of getting a 
tint on a plate, — for instance, running a plate 
with an ordinary ground on it and covered 
with a piece of cloth through an etching press. 
Sandpaper is sometimes used in the same way. 
Salt sprinkled on a heated plate covered with 
etching ground is also used. The print from 
an aquatint is not unlike a wash drawing. 

Spirit Ground. — Fill a bottle one-third full 
with powdered resin, and fill up with rectified 
spirits of wine. Be sure it is all dissolved 
before using. Pour over the plate and let it 
run evenly all over. Let the plate dry and 
bite as usual. In the resin and spirit meth- 
ods, the acid bites the spaces around the par- 
ticles of resin. In the cloth, salt and sandpaper 


methods, the dots made by these materials 
bite. To get a variety of tone in a sky, put 
the upper edge in the bath first, and gradually 
lower until all the plate is in the bath. This 
will make the top of the sky darker. 



The mezzotint rocker or cradle is shaped 
like the rocker of a child*s cradle. It is a 
piece of steel about 2j/^ inches wide and 5^ 
inch thick. One end is rounded to the seg- 
ment of a circle and shaped like a chisel. On 
the side corresponding to the back of the 
chisel a number of parallel grooves are run 
perpendicular to the chisel edge. There are 
from 40 to 120 of these grooves to an inch. 
The intersections of these grooves and the 
chiselled edge become a series of sharp teeth. 
The rocker may have a wooden handle or it 
may be clamped to a long rod not unlike a 
billiard cue and rocked by allowing the other 


Fnmi a print in the possession of the Author 


A Mezzotint by 



end of the rod to run in a groove set per- 
pendicular to the plate. A small rocker in a 
handle can be used to go over a place where 
too much burr has been removed. Use a bur- 
nisher to polish the surface for strong lights. 
Olive oil and lamp black rubbed over the 
plate gives an idea of the plate's condition. 
A proof may be printed to serve as a guide. 
By varying the number of teeth in the rocker 
you change the grain. Seventy-two teeth to 
the inch is the usual number employed. The 
fewer teeth the coarser the grain. Rocking 
costs about ten cents a square inch. The teeth 
of the rocker make a hole in the plate's sur- 
face and also raise a burr. The greater the 
amount of burr removed the lighter the tone. 
The mezzotint scraper is shaped something 
like the blade of a knife, but it is sharpened 
at the end only. To transfer an outline to a 
rocked plate, use red chalk transfer paper, 
first smoking the plate. A blunted dry-point 
needle may be used to fix the outlines. In 
scraping, one should be careful to follow the 


last stroke or the work will be uneven. Mez- 
zotint may be combined with dry-point. Use 
a dull point in order that the work may be the 
more harmonious. 






I PROPOSE to give here only the most 
necessary materials required to carry a 
plate through to the printing stage. 
The cost of those purchased should be under 
five dollars. I would not advise this limited 
equipment for more extensive work. 

The artist should choose a simple subject 
employing as few positive values and lines as 
possible. Draw with an even pressure, being 
sure to expose the copper with each stroke. 
Materials to Purchase. — 



Ball of Etching Ground 






Plate. — Get a small plate from one of the 
firms mentioned in the appendix, or use the 
back of an old visiting card plate. You can 


get some old plates from a card engraver. 
These must be cleaned and polished and the 
edges filed. 

Ball of Etching Ground. — It will probably 
be found more convenient to purchase a bot- 
tle of the liquid etching ground or a small 
ball of the ground about the size of a walnut. 
The cost of the materials for making a larger 
quantity will be about the same. 

Acid should be pure. Get it from the drug- 
gist. Nitric is best for the first trial. 

Varnish. — Get asphaltum varnish or any 
good varnish that is impervious to acid and 
can be removed readily with turpentine. 

Scraper. — One of medium size will do. 

Burnisher. — The burnisher and scraper 
can be purchased from any dealer in etching 

Charcoal. — One stick is enough. 

Lampblack. — While not absolutely neces- 
sary it will be useful to mix with olive oil 
and rub on the plate so that the work may 
be seen. 

f^-*'' '-W^W^^'tAj 

■^<<_^rvsj>v* <^rt%. 


An Etching by 

the Author 


The following materials can be easily pro- 
cured if you do not already have them: 


Stopping-out Varnish 


Water-Colour Brushes 


Olive Oil 


Chamois Skin 


Oil Stone 




Large Wire Nail 

Blotting Papers 




Etching Needles 


File. — Any file that will round the edges 
of the copper. 

Vise. — A pair of tweezers will do, wrap- 
ping cloth about the handle to protect the 
fingers from heat. Remember to put a small 
piece of blotting paper on the face side of 
the plate to prevent the tweezers from scratch- 
ing the surface. 

Turpentine. — A small bottle of turpentine 
will answer. 

Whiting. — Electro Silicon as used in the 
house for silver-polish will do as well as whit- 
ing. Gilders whitening is good. 


Ammonia. — Washing ammonia can be 

Tapers. — Any smoky flame may take the 
place of tapers. For instance: that from a 
spirit lamp. As the blackening of the ground 
is only for seeing the work more clearly, in a 
first plate it is possible to omit it. 

Tray. — Photo developing trays are not ex- 
pensive, but any flat-bottomed dish will do. 
I have known of a wash-basin being success- 
fully employed. 

Blotting Paper. — Large, soft sheets are re- 

Dabber. — For making the dabber, refer to 
page 75. 

Etching Needles. — For this experiment a 
sewing needle in a handle of wood will do; 
or get a couple of broken tools from a dentist 
and sharpen them. 

Stopping-out Varnish. — Dissolve some of 
the etching ground in chloroform or benzole. 

Water-Colour Brushes. — You have plenty 
of them no doubt. 


Olive Oil. — As used in the house 

Oil Stone. — Such as is used for sharpen- 
ing a knife. 

Hammer and Wire Nail. — These are used 
to knock up the plate from the back in case 
you have scraped a depression in the surface. 
Place the plate face downward on a piece of 
soft blotting-paper and mark the spot by meas- 
uring from two adjacent sides with a pencil. 

Feathers. — A couple of small ones will do. 

Rags. — Clean cotton rags are the best. 

Heater. — A gas burner is best. You can 
use a gas-jet if necessary. 




ist of Materials. — 






Printing Muslin 

Plate Oils 

Retroussage, or 

Palette Knife 

Stumping Muslin 

Ink Dabber or 

Ink Roller 






AN etching press has nothing in com- 
mon with a type printing press. The 
principle is that of the ordinary 
clothes-wringer or laundry mangle. The es- 
sential parts are two steel rollers, ten inches 
or more in length, placed one above another, 
the lower being larger in diameter. Origi- 
nally these rollers were made of wood. Be- 
tween them is a movable bed of steel on which 
is sometimes placed a sheet of zinc and upon 
this the plate to be printed is laid. If the 



An Etcbint by 

the Author 


pressure is uneven, pieces of paper can be 
put under the zinc plate. To pass this bed 
between the rollers, the upper wheel has at- 
tached to its axis a hub with either long-han- 
dled spokes or a geared wheel. The former 
type is known as the Star press, the latter is 
called a Geared press. A rigid enough frame 
to hold these parts in position and a couple of 
screws connected by grooves in the frame with 
the upper roller to regulate the pressure, com- 
plete the essential parts of an etching press. 
Custom has sanctioned the practise of putting 
several thicknesses of cardboard between the 
axis of the upper roller and the screw. All 
presses have this cushion, as it is called, but I 
have been unable to find any one who would 
maintain that as good a print could not be 
made from a press in which these boards were 
lacking. However, in the early form of 
presses, these bits of cardboard were neces- 
sary to regulate the pressure. The saying still 
exists in printing establishments, "Take a card 
out," meaning to reduce the pressure. As the 


pressure in printing etchings is very great, all 
parts of a press should be especially strong. 
Some beautiful examples of old presses are 
to be seen in the Plantin Museum at Antwerp. 

Blanketing. — Blankets used in printing 
are of two kinds, Swanskin and fronting. 
Two thicknesses of the fronting go next to the 
plate and three thicknesses of the Swanskin 
next to the top roller. These blankets act as 
a pad and help to force the paper into the 
lines of the plate. They should be washed 
from time to time, oftener when using sized 
papers. The corners of the blankets should 
be rounded off and the upper ones made 
smaller than the lower. The blankets should 
be a little wider than the plate to be printed. 

Etching Inks are made from the lees of the 
grape after the wine has been pressed out. 
The inks most commonly used in printing are: 

Frankfort Black Forcing Black 

Winston Black Heavy French 

Michael Angelo Black Light French 
Rembrandt Black 

Burnt Umber is used to warm the ink. 


The following formulas are good, but dif- 
ferent combinations can be experimented 


1 part Heavy French. 

1 part Winston's Frankfort Black. 

1 part Michael Angelo Black. 

3 parts Light French. 

Burnt Umber to warm. Use medium and thin oils 
in equal parts. 


Frankfort Black. 
Burnt Umber to warm. 
Medium Oil. 


1 part Heavy French mixed with thin oil. 

1 part Michael Angelo Black. 

1 part Haddon's Forcing Black. 

2 parts Light French. 

Burnt Umber to warm. 

Equal parts medium and thin oil. Grind as stiff as 



1 part Heavy French. 
1 part Forcing Black. 

1 part Frankfort Black. 

2 parts Light French. 

Burnt Umber to warm. Use medium oil. 


Frankfort Black. 
Burnt Umber to warm. 
Use thick oil. 

Good inks are sold in cans ready for use. 

Plate Oils. — Three grades of burned lin- 
seed oil — thin, medium and thick — are em- 
ployed in printing. Thin and medium oils 
are used for etching, the thick for mezzotint- 
ing. The essential thing is to get burned oil, 
as boiling is not enough. The oil is placed in 
caldrons under which fires are lighted. When 
the boiling point is reached red-hot pokers 
are plunged into it. It is burned from six to 
ten hours. The longer the burning the thick- 
er the oil. This burning of the oil was one 
of the most picturesque features of the old 
printing establishments. 

By Courtesy of Messrs. I.. H. I.efevre & Son 


An EtchinI by 



Palette Knife. — A large size palette knife 
as used by painters will do. 

Ink Dabbers. — The best way to make an 
ink dabber is to take as a foundation a wooden 
stocking darner shaped in the segment of a 
sphere with a handle attached to the flat side. 
Cut old stocking legs into sections and pull 
them over one at a time until you have made 
a ball at least four inches in diameter. Some 
of them can be pulled over the handle. To 
finish the dabber stretch over it a circular 
piece of printer's blanketing and lace at the 
handle with strong thread. This handle can 
be previously covered with a piece of kid from 
an old glove. The blanketing is laced that it 
may be easily renewed without making a new 

Ink Roller. — A good ink roller is made by 
using as a foundation a small size rolling-pin. 
Proceed as with the dabber, covering tightly 
with blanketing laced at either end. 

Slab. — A smooth surface for grinding the 
ink may be of polished marble, granite or 


lithographic stone, in size from eighteen to 
twenty-four inches square. A good shape is 
eighteen by twenty-four inches. 

Muller. — A piece of marble, polished on 
one side and shaped so as to be comfortably 
grasped with both hands. 

Heater. — The best heater is a smooth sheet 
of iron on legs under which a gas burner is 
placed. Some etchers make this plate so 
large that by placing the burner at one end 
the other remains cool thus doing away with 
the jigger. 

Jigger. — A jigger is a wooden box of the 
same height as the heater and placed beside 
it. The front of the box can be hinged and 
the interior utilised for keeping the printing 

Printing Muslin. — ^^A very satisfactory ma- 
terial to use for removing the ink from the 
plate in printing is a kind of muslin known as 
tarlatan. For retroussage or stumping, a fine 
grade of cheesecloth is satisfactory. 

Whiting (Blanc d'Espagne). — ^To prevent 


scratches on the plate, gritty particles should 
be removed from ordinary whiting by pre- 
cipitating in water. Both Electro Silicon and 
Gilder's whiting are good. 

Sponge. — The sponge should be very fine 
and soft. 

Brush. — A stiff hat brush is used to bring 
up the pile on the surface of the paper just 
before printing. 

Grinding the Ink. — The dry ink is ground 
on the slab with the muller. This takes some 
time and is not easy work. The several inks 
are placed on the slab and the lumps crushed. 
Then some oil is added and the muller, held 
in both hands, is passed many times forward 
and back over the slab. Employ pressure 
only when pushing the muller away; then 
bring it back with the edge farthest away 
slightly raised. More oil is added from time 
to time. The ink must be thoroughly ground 
or you will find scratches on your plate. 
Over-grinding is as bad as under-grinding. 
Any grit or dirt in the ink will make itself 


known in scratches. When grinding a lot of 
ink at once it is wise to divide it into small 
portions and grind each part separately, bring- 
ing them all together at the last grinding. For 
thick ink use less oil. Take some up on your 
palette knife to see if it is of the right con- 
sistency and thoroughly ground. It should 
feel like butter. You will soon learn the look 
of the ink when it is just right. It is better to 
grind the ink two or three days before using. 
Inking. — The ink is put on the plate in the 
following manner: First, with a dabber. 
Put some of the ink on the dabber with a 
palette knife and dab it all over the surface 
of the warmed plate with a rocking motion, 
paying particular attention to the deep lines, 
to make sure that they are full of ink. For the 
first proof, rub the ink well into the lines 
with a bit of printing muslin. The dabber 
should never slide on the plate because of the 
danger of scratching. The dabber should 
have old ink taken oflF its surface by working 
it on the heater. Second, with a roller. Take 



A Do' Point by 

the Author 


up some of the ink from the slab on the roller 
and distribute it uniformly over the plate. 
For deeply bitten lines, the dabber is safer 
than the roller. 

Wiping the Plate. — ^The whole surface of 
the plate is now covered with a layer of ink. 
To remove this ink, the printing muslin or 
tarlatan is used in the following manner. A 
piece of muslin about a yard square is made 
up into a flattened ball which can be easily 
held. The outside should be smooth, with 
no hard lumps beneath the surface. Printers 
have a way of folding the muslin by grasping 
two adjacent corners and tossing it in the air, 
at the same time passing first one hand and 
then the other underneath toward the centre 
of the square. You should have at least three 
balls of this tarlatan. With the first one take 
off the bulk of the ink from the surface of 
the plate, which should be warm at this stage. 
This ball is passed across the plate exerting 
the pressure with the palm of the hand, the 
idea being to remove the surface ink without 


disturbing any in the lines. It soon becomes 
charged with ink. A "fat" rag is one with 
quite an amount of ink on it. It is more sym- 
pathetic than a clean one. Take another ball 
of muslin and with a twisting motion work 
over the surface of the plate, which by this 
time should be almost cool. You may finish 
the wiping with this rag or use another for 
the final work. The last rag should be more 
fat than the others or your print will look 
weak. This is the most important part of 
the inking and the method is varied according 
to the effect desired. For book-plates, por- 
traits, and work that needs clear printing, ink 
is put on the palm of the hand with the dab- 
ber. The hand is drawn several times over 
a piece of whiting. Mix by rubbing the hands 
together. With the hand thus prepared, pass 
over the plate with a caressing motion, clean- 
ing away the surface ink more or less without 
disturbing the lines. 

The first method is known as rag-wipe; the 
second as hand-wipe. Thoroughly clean the 


edges of the plate with a bit of rag dipped in 
whiting. When the plate is wiped to your 
satisfaction, it is again heated until quite 
warm. Now drag a bit of loosely folded 
cheesecloth over the plate across the lines you 
wish to print strong. The fluff on the cloth 
pulls some of the ink over the edge of the 
lines and gives a rich effect in the print. This 
is called stumping or retroussage. It is very 
important but should be employed with judg- 
ment. Over-stumping is worse than no stump- 
ing at all, as it gives the print a mussy appear- 
ance. The plate is now ready for the press. 
Aquatints should never be stumped. In the 
beginning one is tempted to depend too much 
on what Hamerton calls artificial printing. 
In this method the printer uses whiting to 
paint out parts and get effects which should 
have been arrived at with the needle and acid. 
It is much the best to complete the effect on 
the plate and print simply. The plate should 
always be cleaned with turpentine after print- 
ing to get all the ink out of the lines. Old 


ink in the lines is hard to remove. Use a satu- 
rated solution of potash to remove old ink. 

Paper. — Etching paper is of various col- 
ours and thicknesses, from the heaviest plate 
to the thinnest Japanese. Plate paper is of a 
spongy nature not unlike blotting-paper. It 
is used for proofs, but mezzotints are some- 
times printed on it. It is also used as a back- 
ing for very thin China paper. The paper 
is cut to the exact size of the copper plate, 
flour paste is put on the back, and it is then 
run through the press with a sheet of plate pa- 
per to which it adheres. Good etching paper 
should be soft or half-sized. Japanese paper 
and plate paper can be wet down just before 
printing. The Japanese should be drier. 
Most papers except the Japanese should be 
dampened with a sponge the day before print- 
ing and kept between blotters making sure 
that the edges are wet. The Japanese paper 
can be dampened an hour or so before. All 
sized papers should be wet down the day be- 
fore printing. A good way to dampen paper 

< •" a 

S.I 2 

^ ic S 

^ u u 


^is to pass each sheet through a tub of clean 
water, and then place between wet blotters. 
Thin sheets of zinc are used to hold the damp- 
ened paper. Thin Japanese paper should be 
dampened with a sponge by tapping lightly 
on the back. All paper should be limp but 
not wet on the surface. Sized papers should 
be brushed on the right side before printing. 
Old account books of hand-made French or 
Dutch paper are much sought after by etchers. 
Dry out any paper that may be left after 
printing before putting it away, as it is liable 
to mildew. 

Printing the Plate. — ^To test the pressure 
on the press pass a clean plate through with 
a piece of plate paper. Hold the paper 
toward the light and looking across it, study 
the shine. This should be equal at both ends 
of the plate if the pressure is even. The 
strong lines of the design will be embossed on 
the paper. 

In most cases the inked plate should be 
warm but not hot. Make sure that the zinc 


on the bed of the press is perfectly clean. 
Use a rag with turpentine for this. Place the 
warm plate on the zinc with the long side 
parallel to the rollers. Over this carefully 
place the moistened paper and upon this place 
a sheet of tissue paper and pull the blankets 
down. These are already part way through 
the rollers nipped in far enough to hold them. 
Turn the press with a steady motion not stop- 
ping while the plate is between the rollers. 
Lift the blankets and throw the free end over 
the top roller. Take off the tissue paper, be- 
ginning at a comer nearest roller. Now lift 
the print carefully by the two corners farthest 
from the rollers. A couple of pieces of card- 
board folded once to grip the paper will pre- 
vent black finger marks on the margin of the 

Treating a Fresh Print. — The old etchers 
had wires stretched across the room and hung 
their fresh prints on them face up, for a num- 
ber of days to dry. It is now more usual to 
place them between large sheets of blotting- 


paper. But in no case are they to be put un- 
der pressure until the ink has had a chance 
to harden. The ridges of ink would be 
crushed down under the pressure. After- 
ward they should be put in fresh blotters and 
subjected to pressure so that the paper will 
dry perfectly smooth. A better way, but one 
taking more time, is to stretch (or strain) the 
etching, after dampening the back, on a draw- 
ing board or academy board, pasting down 
the edges with photo paste. When perfectly 
dry, cut the paper inside the pasted edge. 

Some Suggestions for Inking and Printing. 
— If the plate is bitten lightly use strong ink. 
Old ink gives more tone. A cold plate printed 
slowly with heavy pressure leaves more tone. 
For a bright proof print hot and quickly with 
normal pressure. Do not leave so much ink 
on the plate that the line is lost. To make a 
strong print, hand-wipe cold, stump cold with 
a fat rag, then heat and stump in the usual 
way. For plates with over-burnished lines, 
ink hot, hand-wipe cold, and warm up well 


to stump. For over-bitten plate, use Frank- 
fort, burnt umber, rag-wipe and do not stump. 
Thick ink gives more brilliancy. 

Greater pressure gives greater tone. To 
take out some of the ink in over-bitten lines, 
wipe with stumping muslin. Passing the 
print back through the press a second time 
gives additional strength. Start wiping with 
a rather clean rag and finish with a fat one. 
Some plates are improved by going over them 
with printing muslin after hand-wiping. The 
thinner the ink, the more mat tone the print 
has. The hardest plate to print is the deli- 
cately bitten one. Hand-wiping is usually 
best for dry-point. In retroussage or stump- 
ing, pull out the dark parts first. 

If your proof is a failure, look first to the 
pressure and then to the paper. The paper 
will not print well if it is either too wet or 
too dry. The ink may not be just right. Often 
a beginner wipes the ink out of the lines, thus 
giving a poor proof. When you are through 
printing be sure to remove all ink from the 

An Etehinf by 
tlie Author 

& £gR & rr^ L^^t^yM A>^-^ 

An Etching by 
the Author 


plates by warming them and going over them 
with turpentine. If the plate is steel faced it 
must be covered with a coating of beeswax 
put on hot. This will prevent the steel from 
rusting and you can remove the beeswax with 
benzine when you wish to use the plate again. 
Clean everything which has ink on it with tur- 
pentine and leave all tools in good condition 
for the next printing. 

FLATE Vo. 1 

jt tJumiTii'I- 

^ C\.\vv^> 

*^yv« 'nj- 




^ I 

1. Etching Needle in Wooden 


2. Solid Steel Etching Needle 

3. Burnisher with Blunt End 

4. Burnisher with Sharp End 

5. Scraper 

6 and 7. Top and Side Views of 

8 and 9. Two Kinds of Mezzo- 
tint Scrapers 

10. Plate Callipers 

11. Anvil of Steel and Polished 

on Top 

12. Hammer to Knock Up Plate 


PLA.TE Ko. 2 

^y^' ^^^ 
.^^ ^^- 

1. SoUer of Su'bber or Ijoatlier 

2. Dabber for Putting on Ground, 

about 3 Inches Wide 
S. Oil Bubber, Made of Blanketing 

4. Twisted Wax Tapers 

5. Ink Dabber, about 6 ludiM 


6. Section of Etched Iiin« 

7. Section through Dry Point 

Burr When Keedle is Held 

8. Section of Engraved Line 

9. Section through Dry Point 

Burr When Needle la Held 






The American Steel and Copper Plate 

Co., 132 Nassau St. 

Wm. H. Snyder and Co., 67 Spring St, 

Star Engraver's Supply Co., 671^ Gold St. 

New York Engraver's Supply Co., 230 

West 17th St. 
Plates, tools and grounds — 

John Sellers and Sons, 75 Warren St. 
Presses — 

Val Peragio, 556 West 34th St. 
Blanketing — 

Samuel A. Burtt, 298 Fenmore St., Brooklyn. 
Papers — 

Japan Paper Co., 109 East 21st St. 
Printing and ink — 

Fred Reynolds, 154 East 38th St. 


Plates, tools, acid, etc. — 

Allen B. Crooke, 143 Federal St. 
Tools — 

Frost and Adams, 25 Arch St. 
Papers — 

Japan Paper Co., 453 Washington St. 

146 lilliLIOGRAPHY 

Printing — 

Henry I. Jenkins, 23 Church St., Cambridge 


Plates, tools, etc. — 

F. Weber and Co., 1125 Chestnut St. 
Lithographic Printing — 

Ketterlinus LiTHocRAPiiic Mfc. Co. 



American Steel and Copper Plate Co., 538 

So. Clark St. 

National Steel and Copper Plate Co., 542 

So. Dearborn St 

Charles Hillmuth, Inc., 538 So. Clark St. 

Charles Eneu Johnson and Co., 418 So. 

Market St. 
Press Blankets — 

James H, Rhodes and Co., 159 W. Austin 

Paper — 

The Paper Mills Co., 517 So. Wells St. 
Printing — 

Mrs. Bertha E. Jacques, 4316 Greenwood 


Joseph L. Hempstead, 4 East Ohio St. 


Tools, grounds, plates, etc — 

A. W. Penrose and Co., 109 Farrington 
Road, E. C. I. 


J. Haddon and Co., 132 Salisbury Square, 

Fleet St., E. C. 4. 

KiMBER, 105 Great Russell St., W. C. i. 

W. B. Rhind, 69 Gloucester Road, N. W. i. 

J. B. Smith, 117 Hampstead Road, N. W. i. 

RoBERSON AND Co., 99 Long Acre, W. C. 2. 

L, CoRNELissEN AND SoN, 22 Great Queen 

St., W. C. 2. 
Plates — 

J. J. Griffin and Son, 20 Sardinia St., Lin- 
coln's Inn Fields. 
Steel-facing of plates — 

T. Brooker and Co., 78 Margaret St., W. i. 
Inks — 

Winston and Co., 100 Shoe Lane, E. C. 4. 
Papers — 

Spalding and Hodge, Drury House, Russell 

St., W. C. 2. 
Printing — 

T. Brooker and Co., 78 Margaret St., W. i. 

F. GouLDiNG, Ltd., Netherwood Place, Shep- 
herd's Bush Road, W. 14. 

C. W. Welch, Oldfield House, Brook Green 

Road, W. 6. 

I. Strang, 7 Hamilton Terrace, N. W. 
Lithographic Supplies — 

Winston and Co., 100 Shoe Lane, E. C. 4. 

L. Cornelissen and Son, 22 Great Queen 

St., W. C. 2. 


Tools, plates, etc. — 

J. W. Sellers and Sons, 121 Arundel St. 



Plates, tools, presses, etc. — 

Paris American Art Co., 125 Boulevard du 


H. Calm ELS, 150 Boulevard du Montparnasse. 

Petit Servant, 71 rue St. Louis-in-l'Ile. 

Charbonel, 13 Quai Montebclle. 

Lefranc, 18 rue dc Valois. (Ground called 

Vemis Lamour). 
Planer — 

Brideau, 27 rue de la Huchette. 
Steel-facing — 

Cottens, 39 rue Laccpede. 

Capelle, 52 rue Mouffetard. 
Printing — 

PoRCABOEUF, 1 87 ruc St. Jacqucs. 

Delatre, 97 rue Lepic (Montmartre). 

Vernaut, 6 rue Emile Dubois (?). 

Braun (formerly Wittmann), 35 rue Toume- 


Louis Fort, 289 rue St. Jacques. 
Blanketing — 

Tager fils aine, 39 rue des Bourdonnais. 
Papers — 

Perigot Mazure, 30 rue Mazarine (Papier 


Renaud Flxier, 5 rue Nicolas Flamel (Van 

Gelder; Holland & Japanese papers). 



Etchers and Etchings — Joseph Pennell. The Macmillan 
Co., New York, 19 19. 

On Making and Collecting Etchings — E. Hesketh Hub- 
bard. The Moreland Press, London, 1920. 

The Charm of the Etcher's Art — Malcolm C. Salaman. 
The Studio, London, 1920. 

Etching — Earl H. Reed. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New 
York, 1914. 

On the Making of Etchings — Sir Frank Short. R. Dun- 
thorn, London* 1888. 

Etchings and Engravings — Sir Frank Short. Royal So- 
ciety of Painter-Etchers, London, 1912. 

Etchings and Etchers — P. G. Hamerton. Macmillan & 
Co., London, 1880. 

The Etcher's Handbook — P. G. Hamerton. C. Robert- 
son & Co., London, 1881. 

Treatise on Etching — Lalanne, translated by S. R. Koeh- 
ler. Boston, 1880. 

Etching, Engraving and Other Methods of Printing Pic- 
tures — Singer and Strange. K. Paul Trench Triib- 
ner Si, Co., London, 1897. 

Eau-forte pointe seche et vemis meu — Delatre. A. 
Lanier, Paris, 1887. 



Etching, Dry Point, Mezzotint — Hugh Paton. Raithby 

Lawrence & Co., London, 1895- 
Die Kiinst des Radicren's — Hermann Struck. Paul Ca»- 

sirer, Berlin, 191 2. 
A Short History of Engraving and Etching — A. Hind. 

Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1908. 
Etchings — F. Wedmore. Methuen & Co., London, 191 1. 
Old English Mezzotints. The Studio, London, 191 1. 
Modem Etchings, Mezzotints and Dry Points. The 

Studio, London, 1913. 
The Great Painter-Etchers from Rembrandt to Whistler. 

The Studio, London, 1914. 
Print Collector's Handbook. Whitman & Salaman. 
Print Collector's Handbook. Issued Quarterly by the 

Print Department, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 
How to Appreciate Prints — Frank Weitenkampf . Charles 

Scribner's Sons, New York. Third Edition, 1922. 
American Graphic Art — Frank Weitenkampf. Henry 

Holt & Co., New York, 1912. 


The Graphic Arts — Joseph Pennell. The University of 
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1921. 

The Graphic Arts of Great Britain — Malcolm C. Sala- 
man. The Studio, London, 191 7. 

Modem Woodcuts and Lithographs by British and 
French Artists. The Studio, London, 19 19. 

The Art of Drawing in Lead Pencil — Jasper Salwey. 
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, and B. T. Bats- 
ford, Ltd., London, 1921. 

Pen Drawing and Pen Draughtsmen — Joseph Pennell. 
The Macmillan Company, New York, 1920. 


Adventures with a Sketch Book — Donald Maxwell. 

John Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd., London, 1914. 
A Treatise on Pen Drawing — C. D. Maginnis. 
Modern Illustration — ^Joseph Pennell. 
Art of Pen and Ink Drawing — H. R. Robertson. 
Elements of Drawing — John Ruskin. 
The Graphic Arts — P. G. Hamerton. 
Hints to Art Students — ^Chas. Lasar. 
Landscape Painting — Sir Alfred East. 
Composition — Dow. 
Composition — Poo re. 
Ouvrons les Yeux — G. Fatio. 

Illustrations by Robida. 
La Hollande a Vol d'Oiseau. 

Illustrations by Lalanne. 
Pablo de Segovia. 

Illustrations by Vierge. 
Die Marchen von Rubezahl. 

Illustrations by Max Slevogt. 
Die Grimmchen Marchen. 

Illustrations by Otto Ubbelohde. 
Pen, Pencil and Chalk — The Studio, London, 1912. 
Prints and Drawings by Frank Branguyn — Walter Shaw 

Sparrow. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 

and John Lane, The Bodley Head, Ltd., London, 





Acid 79 

Anvil 85 

Aquatint 68, 1 12 

Artists' Proof 59 

Avoiding Stopping-Out 102 

Biting the Plate 98 

Blanketing 124 

Burin 49, 86 

Burnisher 86 

Burr 65 

Callipers 85 

Chalk Drawing 23 

Charcoal 87 

Charcoal Drawing 24 

Composition 25 

Dabber 75 

Drawing on the Plate 93 

Dry-point 65 

Dry-point Needles 79 

Dutch Bath 81 

Etching 53 

Etching in the Bath 102 

Etching Ground 75 

Etching Needles 78, 120 


156 INDEX 


Foul Biting 105 

Gelatine Method 96 

Glass Prints 70 

Graver 86 

Grinding the Ink 129 

Half-Tone 32 

Hamerton's Positive Process 104 

Hammer 85 

Hand-wiping 132 

Heater 128 

Ink Dabber 127 

Ink Formulas 125 

Ink Roller 127 

Inking the Plate 130 

Inks 124 

Intaglio Printing 51 

Jigger 128 

Line Engraving 48 

Liquid Method 91 

List of Materials for Etching 73 

Lithography 42 

Making Etching Ground 77 

Mezzotint 68, 1 14 

Mezzotint Ink 126 

Monotype 69 

Muller 128 

INDEX 157 


Oil Rubber 87 

Original Etching 62 

Painter-Etcher 62 

Paper 134 

Pen Drawing 28 

Pencil Drawing 19 

Perchloride of Iron 83 

Photogravure 32 

Plate 73, 117 

Plate Mark 34, 57 

Plate Oils 126 

Polishing Plate 91 

Preparing Plate for Acid 88 

Press 56, 122 

Printing 56, 122, 135 

Printing Muslin 128 

Process 29 

Rag-wiping 132 

Rebiting 109 

Relief Printing 51 

Remarque 59 

Reproductive Etching 62 

Retroussage 57, 133 

Reworking Ground 108 

Roller Ground 90 

Scraper 85 

Silver Point 22 

Slab 127 

Smoking Plate 89 

158 INDEX 


Soft Ground 67, 1 1 1 

Spirit Ground 113 

States of the Plate 61 

Steel Engraving 50 

Steel Facing 60 

Stipple Engraving 50 

Stopping-out Method 55, 100 

Stopping-out Varnish 84 

Stumping 57, 1 33 

Suggestions for Inking and Printing 137 

Surface Printing 51 

Transfer Paper 95 

Transferring through Press % 

Tray for Acid 79 

Treating a Fresh Print 136 

Trial Proof 59 

Whistler's Method of Biting 103 

Wiping the Plate 131 

Wood Engraving 38 


: JORONTO , M5S lAl . 




NE plowman, George Taylor, 1869- 

2130 Etching and other graphic 

P56 arts: an Illustrated treatise